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Vero Beach man accused of burning home down using blowtorch

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 1:26 PM EST
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A Vero Beach man is accused of pouring gasoline on a property and setting a home on fire with a blowtorch, according to the Indian River County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators said witnesses identified Travis Tanner Pippin, 36, as the person who burned down a house Tuesday afternoon in the 500 block of Caribbean Circle.

Officials said photos and video that were taken by a witness showed Pippin walk toward the home, light the gasoline on fire and walk away.

According to an arrest affidavit, the suspect was confronted by a neighbor after the home was set ablaze. While exchanging words, Pippin allegedly threw gasoline in the direction of the neighbor and lit the fuel on fire.

Neighbors said they raced to the home after seeing that it was engulfed in flames.

"I busted the windows out in the back of the house because I didn't know if there was anybody in there because I seen the vehicles there," said neighbor Buddy Perry.

The affidavit says Pippin then fled the area toward Old Dixie Highway and into a wooded area.

A Sebastian police officer and his K-9 later found Pippin and helped take him into custody.

Yesterday, the Indian River County Sheriff's Office requested the use of our K9 Unit to help them apprehend a suspect...

Posted by Sebastian Police Department on Wednesday, December 8, 2021

A dog, named Rusty, that was inside the home was rescued from the blaze. Deputies said Pippin knew the dog was in the home when the fire was started.

The arrest affidavit stated that when he was questioned about the homeowner's dog, Pippin replied "f*ck that dog."

The owner of the home, Sandy Underwood, said Pippin is her daughter's boyfriend.

"They've not had a good relationship, and he wasn't allowed on the property, which made him mad. It just escalated, I guess, to this," Underwood said.

A dog named Rusty was rescued from the burning home.
A dog named Rusty was rescued from the burning home.

She said the home was filled with family memories. They were able to save a few pieces of furniture, but the house is a total loss. Neither Underwood nor her fiancé was at the home at the time of the fire.

"One day at a time is the way we're going to have to take it right now," Underwood said.

Pippin faces charges of arson of a structure, cruelty to animals, trespass on property and resisting arrest without violence.

He is being held on a $75,000 bond.

If anyone has additional photos or videos of the incident, call the sheriff's office at (772) 978-6803.

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