TAMPA — He stood outside, covered in soot, watching the MacDill Avenue home burn on Dec. 14, according to police.
On Tuesday, Kent Perusse posed for his booking photo at the Hillsborough County Jail.
Tampa police said Perusse, 48, told officers at the fire that "I did it." He explained he didn't want a woman he was involved with to move into 5703 S MacDill Ave. so he set it on fire. Investigators found the single-story, wood frame house had been doused with an accelerant.
He also told officers his dog, a female pit bull, was still inside the burning house. It died.
Perusse was taken to Tampa General Hospital, where he remained for two weeks being treated for smoke inhalation and third-degree burns to his calves.
He was charged with first-degree arson and animal cruelty. The self-employed lawn service owner, according to jail records, was being held on $55,000 bail.
The house, which was Perusse was renting, was a total loss estimated at $72,804 in damages.