Witness to early morning fire charged with sparking the blaze - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Witness to early morning fire charged with sparking the blaze

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Jeremy Larsen, 22 Jeremy Larsen, 22

It's our job as reporters to find witnesses to help tell the story, but it's not every day your witness becomes the suspect. Sometimes you just get lucky. That was the case surrounding an early morning fire on the east side of Sioux Falls.

Right off the bat, it appears Jeremy Larsen was simply at the right place at the right time.

"I was down the way buying a pack of cigarettes and I came through and I saw just the whole block engulfed in smoke and stuff!" Said Larsen.

As firefighters worked to douse the flames at this home on Harrington Circle, Jeremy lets us know he's more than just a passer-by.

"You know, I grew up in this house! My best friend from kindergarten lived here." Said Larsen.

Jeremy keeps talking, so we keep listening as he tells us the home was under "major" renovations. He also apparently knew that no one was home.

"Last I saw the kitchen was in the living room, the bathroom was in the living room, half of the supplies were in the garage! It was vacant, hundred percent as far as I know" Said Larsen.

KSFY News wasn't the only one interested in Jeremy's account. Sioux Falls Police Officers on scene ended up bringing the "witness" in for questioning.  

"There's certainly been a track record of suspects that have either set fires or helped them go and then they just stayed around to watch them burn; that's kind of one of the things that not all arsonists do, but some do." Said Officer Sam Clemens.

Turns out Jeremy fits the mold. He was charged Wednesday morning with reckless burning where just hours earlier he was praising firefighter's efforts.

"My girlfriend's dad is a firefighter mechanic and he keeps all these trucks going so they're able to do their job so this hits me more than it just being my buddy's house, I know these firefighters more on a personal level because of my girlfriend's father." Said Larsen.

Jeremy's day started in front of our cameras, whether by fate or karma, it ended there as well.

This isn't the first time KSFY News has been involved in catching fire-starters. In March of 2012, photojournalist James Jansma went to get video of a vehicle fire and spotted a man hiding behind some parked cars. Police arrested that man, Damon James First-In-Trouble who was later charged with arson.

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