An Altoona man is facing arson charges in Centre County after allegedly setting fire to a Philipsburg basement.
According to the criminal complaint filed by state police at Philipsburg, at about 3:40 p.m. Wednesday, the owner of 1401 E. Presqueisle St. reported seeing Erick J. Karlson, 42, arrive at that address. The owner told troopers Karlson had rented the residence but moved out in November 2016 on good terms.
The owner said he watched Karlson enter the residence through the rear, which gives access to the basement, police said. As he entered, the owner said he shouted his name, to which Karlson reportedly responded with a middle finger and profanity. A few minutes later, Karlson left. As the owner approached he reported seeing smoke throughout the residence and three-foot flames in the basement. He was able to put out the fire with water and called 911.
During the interview, the owner said Karlson had visited his residence to talk to him but he was not home, police said. His wife relayed the message that Karlson said he would see the owner tomorrow.
Three tenants currently rent space in the residence, police said, and were not on scene when the fire allegedly occurred. Damage to carpeting and some air conditioners totaled about $700. A fire marshal investigation revealed a plastic bottle containing a suspected liquid accelerant.
Karlson was located at his Altoona residence and taken into custody by Altoona police, police said. He was taken to the state police barracks in Philipsburg.
He was arraigned Thursday before District Judge Steven Lachman, according to court documents, and charged with three felony counts of burglary, arson and criminal attempt of arson and a misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief. Straight bail was set at $25,000.
A preliminary hearing is slated for April 19.