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Police: Tampa Man Burns House So Mother, Wife Won’t Move In

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Kent Perusse (credit: Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office)

Kent Perusse (credit: Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office)

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TAMPA, Fla. (CBS Tampa) — Local authorities responding to distress calls arrived to a house in flames, the fire fully engulfing 5703 S MacDill Ave. as Kent Perusse, 48, allegedly resigned himself to watching it burn while he sat across the street on his neighbor’s lawn.

He said, “I did it, ” according to reports, and he allegedly did it for love — a love now over.

He told police he started the fire with gasoline because he didn’t want his mother, wife or daughter to move in.

Minutes earlier, witnesses told police Perusse calmly walked down his steps in socks and shorts, with a soot-smeared face and third-degree burns on his lower legs.

Perusse also told police that he left his pit bull inside where it burned in his storage room.

He has been charged with first-degree arson and animal cruelty.

He was treated for two weeks in Tampa General Hospital after the Dec. 14 fire for his burns and smoke inhalation before he was booked.

Perusse was held on $55,000 bail, and his house is a loss totaling $72,804.

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