INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — A 36-year-old man will face a judge next month following an incident where he used a blow torch to set fire to a home with a dog inside, deputies said. Firefighters rescued the dog from the burning residence.
An update on the dog’s condition was not immediately available. Deputies said the home was “a total loss” from the heavy flame damage.
Travis Tanner Pippin, of the 1900 block of 35th Avenue, Vero Beach, was charged with arson of structure, resisting arrest without violence, cruelty to animals and trespassing on property. Pippin was held Sunday at the Indian River County Jail on $75,000 bond.
Deputies said Pippin was known to the homeowners and targeted the residence. The owners issued Pippin a trespass warning on Oct. 6, but the reason why was not detailed in Pippin’s arrest report.
Indian River County sheriff’s deputies responded to reports of arson about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at a home in the 500 block of Caribbean Circle, north of Oslo Road and west of U.S. 1. Several witnesses told deputies they saw a man walk up to the property and pour gasoline in the garage and carport, sheriff’s officials said.
The man, later identified as Pippin, ignited the gasoline and walked away, reports show. Neighbors captured the incident on cell phone images and videos, deputies said.
When a neighbor confronted Pippin, Pippin threw gasoline in the neighbor’s direction and set fire to the gas, sheriff’s officials said. It was unclear if the neighbor was injured.
Pippin then ran toward a wooded area near the 600 block of Old Dixie Highway, sheriff’s officials said. Sheriff’s K-9 deputies tracked Pippin and detained him.
Deputies reviewed cell phone footage of the incident and identified Pippin as the man who set the home ablaze, officials said. Indian River County Fire Rescue crews searched the home for anyone inside.
Firefighters found the dog, carried it outside and gave the animal medical treatment, sheriff’s officials said.
When first responders mentioned the homeowners’ dog, Pippin said “(expletive) that dog” and “after the fog cleared, I was holding the torch,” reports show. Deputies arrested Pippin and booked him into the county jail.
Anyone with additional photos or videos of the incident should contact sheriff’s Deputy Buffington at 772-978-6803.