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Milwaukee man charged with arson in apartment fire that left more than 100 people displaced

Posted at 8:57 PM, Dec 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-30 06:22:10-05

MILWAUKEE — A 19-year-old Milwaukee man as been charged with one count of arson in connection to an apartment fire that left more than 100 people displaced on Sunday.

According to a criminal complaint, it happened near 32nd and Wisconsin in Milwaukee at the Franklin Arms Apartments. It is a four-story, multi-unit building. No injuries were reported, however, 139 tenant from 59 units were displaced.

The criminal complaint alleges that Avonta Brown, 19, was a resident of the complex. A witness told police that prior to the fire, Brown was alleging throwing items out of an apartment window and was attempting to light cardboard packaging on fire with a lighter. The witness smelled smoked and the smoke alarms went off, so the witness called 911 to report the fire on the third floor of the building, according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint further states that Milwaukee firemen inspected the apartment where Brown allegedly started the fire, and it was determined that the fire had been deliberately set inside said apartment. Officials said there was "no plausible ignition sequence besides human involvement," according to the criminal complaint.

The defendant allegedly told a detective, "he started the fire because he did not feel comfortable in the apartment because of a demonic presence", according to the complaint.

Brown had an initial appearance in court on Friday.

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