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Sheriff: Man intentionally set house fire that killed 6 pets to 'cause a scene'

Investigators say Evan Saslaw told them he wanted to "cause a scene to get people to notice."
Credit: Hernando County Sheriff's Office/Hernando County Fire and Emergency Services

SPRING HILL, Fla. — A man living in a Spring Hill home that became "fully engulfed" in flames Friday has been arrested for intentionally setting the fire, according to authorities. 

The Hernando County Sheriff's Office says it first came in contact with Evan Saslaw on April 7 after they say he made several 911 calls from his home on Collingswood Street. Once deputies arrived, Saslaw would refuse to speak to them or let them inside, according to a press release. 

The next day, authorities say they again received "numerous" calls for the address, but this time it wasn't Saslaw — it was his neighbors reporting an explosion at the 29-year-old's home.

Firefighters say the calls from his neighbors reported: "the garage blew up and the house was fully engulfed." The flames were said to have started in the garage before spreading to the attic.

At the time of the fire, witnesses told deputies they saw Saslaw running away from the home while potentially armed with a handgun. He was located a short time later and taken into custody.

According to the sheriff's office, its investigation revealed Saslaw started the fire by pouring gasoline in the garage and lighting it on fire. Investigators say Saslaw told them he wanted to "cause a scene to get people to notice."

The sheriff's office says three cats, two dogs and a snake died in the fire while a separate dog and cat survived. The heat generated from the fire is also reported to have damaged several windows of a neighboring home. 

Saslaw has been arrested on charges of arson, criminal mischief and six counts of animal cruelty. He is currently being held at the Hernando County Detention Center on a $36,000 bond.

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