Police: Man Started House Fire In Casper After Eviction Threat
A Casper man is accused of starting a house fire after the property owner threatened him with eviction, court documents say.
Travis Roundy is charged with first-degree arson and felony property destruction in connection with the Feb. 26 fire in the 100 block of North Park Street. He made his initial appearance in Natrona County Circuit Court on Thursday where his bond was set at $25,000 cash or surety.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, fire investigators contacted Casper police on Feb. 28, two days after the fire.
The affidavit says Roundy initially told investigators that he had been in an argument with a roommate when he kicked over a fuel can. Roundy reportedly told investigators he then threw a still-lit cigarette butt toward a bucket and missed before noticing smoke coming from the building's garage.
A Casper police detective reviewed video taken from officers who responded to the scene. Those videos allegedly showed Roundy acting nonchalant despite recently escaping a burning building.
During the investigation, the detective spoke with the building's owner who said Roundy and a roommate had been renting the residence for roughly six months and that Roundy consistently was late on rent.
The property owner told police that he had given Roundy notice that he needed to vacate the property or he would be evicted, the affidavit says.
The property owner also described his interactions with Roundy as hostile.
On Wednesday, detectives interviewed Roundy, who allegedly confessed to starting the fire.
According to the affidavit, Roundy allegedly told police that he and his roommate got into an argument.
"The argument, coupled with being forced to move out, made him angry," a detective writes in the affidavit. "Roundy said he went down to the basement, where he kicked the blue fuel can. When he saw the fuel pouring out and puddling on the floor, Roundy said he got the idea to start the fire."
Roundy allegedly told police that he intended to damage the property before he moved out the next day. He said he saw the fuel can laying on its side near the base of the stairs before going back upstairs.
"Roundy described leaning over the railing in the corner of the stairwell and dropping lit items into the puddle below," the affidavit says. "Roundy said he rolled up a piece of paper, lit it and dropped into the puddle."
After the fire department left, Roundy and his roommate were allowed back into the home as fire and smoke damage had not reached the inhabitable areas. Roundy said he slept for a few hours before he woke up "still fuming," the affidavit says.
Court documents say Roundy then drove over to the property owner's house before walking around the block a few times. He then allegedly stabbed the tires on the property owner's truck with a pocket knife.