TAMPA — Police arrested a homeless Tampa man accused of setting fire to an Ybor house early Friday.
At about 7 a.m., Ybor Environmental Services employees saw a fire at 2222 E 4th Ave. and noticed a man walking away from the home.
The workers started to put out the fire and called Tampa police, giving the zone officer a description of the suspect. Officer Sean Mahabir knew whom they were talking about: Donald Wayne Neutz, a homeless man known to sleep in vacant houses in the area, police reported.
Mahabir found Neutz, 57, at 7th Avenue and 22nd Street. He gave several stories about where he had been that morning, but when Mahabir asked him why he smelled like smoke, Neutz admitted to starting the fire, police said.
Neutz said he had been sleeping on the porch and started a fire to keep mosquitoes away, police said, but the fire burned out of control.
Investigators believe this was an isolated incident not related to the string of arsons in the nearby V.M. Ybor neighborhood.
Neutz was charged with first-degree arson and booked into the Orient Road Jail.
Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at (813) 226-3433 or firstname.lastname@example.org.