News From Terre Haute, Indiana

June 11, 2013

Police: Man doused home with gas, set it on fire

Staff Report
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A Terre Haute man has been arrested after witnesses said he poured gasoline throughout a house and set it on fire early Monday.

Christopher Lee Brown, 37, appeared in Vigo Superior Court 3 on Monday where probable cause was found for his arrest on charges of arson, resisting law enforcement and intimidation.

Arson investigator Norm Loudermilk told the Tribune-Star that Brown became upset after learning that a home he owns in the 2400 block of Chase Street had been burglarized. The residents of the house had been temporarily staying at another location, and called police when they discovered the break-in.

When Brown arrived at the scene, Loudermilk said, the man became angry and told the occupants of the home to remove their belongings.

As the female occupant and her teenage child were boxing up their belongings, Loudermilk said, Brown allegedly went through the house with a container of gasoline, dousing the floor and items in the house, including the woman and her child.

Brown went out the front door of the house, followed by the woman and child, Loudermilk said, and Brown continued to pour out gasoline, which he then set on fire.

The flames spread into the house, but when Brown shut the front door of the house, the fire was deprived of oxygen and the flames died out without doing a lot of damage to the house, Loudermilk said.

Brown then entered a pickup truck to drive away, Loudermilk said, but was pursued by police who were arriving at the scene as he was departing.

Brown’s route went north on Fruitridge Avenue, and the truck ran over stop sticks deployed in the road. With the truck tires flattened, Brown continued to travel north and turned onto Steelton Road before the truck became disabled, Loudermilk said.

Brown was removed from the truck and arrested. He was also found to be wanted on a warrant from Sullivan County.

Brown is set to return to court on Thursday for filing of formal charges.