Arson investigation underway after gas tank on fire crashes through Perry Co. man’s window

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PERRY COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – An arson investigation is underway in Perry County that destroyed a man’s home and car.

The fire broke out around midnight at a mobile home on Highway 412/438.

The resident, Mitchell Howard, told News 2 he was sitting in his living room with a couple of people around midnight when he heard the window break.

“It was a gas tank, it was lit on fire. It was on fire when it came through my window,” Howard told News 2.

He says the gas tank had been on his back porch and it exploded just beside him.

“Didn’t see nothing, but the fiery haze come through the window and the window broke and the curtain rods caught on fire and the carpet caught on fire.”

The destruction Thursday was hard to make out, as the Linden Fire Department worked to put out hot spots. TBI arson investigators brought in their K-9 “Scooter” to search for the gas can that left the homeowner with minor burns.

“It grazed my arm. My arm was burnt and my fingertips were burnt pretty bad trying to put it out,” Howard explained.

However, he said it could have been much worse.

“I’ve went through worse and I’ll overcome it, I promise you. I’ve lost stuff all my life, I’ll overcome it.”

Perry County Sheriff Nick Weems told News 2 that Howard was especially lucky that he was awake.

“He was very lucky, very lucky to be awake at midnight. It’s unfortunate for him. He’s been a childhood friend of mine for many, many years and he’s lost everything in his home here so hopefully the Red Cross will step in and help him out,” said Sheriff Weems.

The sheriff’s department is now following a number of leads as they question the women who were at Howard’s home.

“It’s got to be some type of retaliation I would say. I don’t think anybody in their right mind would just come by and do that for no reason. So we are looking at every angle to figure out what went wrong,” Weems told News 2.

TBI Arson Investigators are now leading the investigation, along with assistance from the Sheriffs Department.

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