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Man faces 7 counts of arson after St. Paul house fire

This news story was published on January 5, 2012.
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Anthony Lonetree, Star Tribune, Minneapolis –

An arson that sent people fleeing from a St. Paul home Tuesday was set after a woman rejected the alleged arsonist’s sexual advances, according to charges filed Wednesday.

David A. Mason, 28, faces seven counts of first-degree arson after dresser drawers and other items were piled onto a bed and set on fire.

No one was hurt but a cat died as result of the blaze, which broke out about 1 a.m. Tuesday in the 1500 block of Virginia Street. According to police, officers kicked down a door and helped three adults and two children escape as the residence filled with smoke.

Altogether, six people ranging from 5 months to 71 years old were inside the home after Mason set the fire and left with his pit bull, according to the charges filed against him in Ramsey County District Court.

A 21-year-old woman who often visited the residence with her two small children told police she rejected Mason’s advances when he expressed a romantic or sexual interest in her. He was angry, the charges say.

The woman said she knew Mason had piled the items on his bed. But despite being warned by Mason that she had only 10 or 15 minutes to get out of the house, she said she did not believe he would follow through with the act. Instead, she went upstairs to bed, the charges say.

Later, occupants saw smoke coming from under his bedroom door.

Mason, who was arrested Tuesday morning in Maplewood, denied starting the fire, the charges say. He acknowledged flirting with the woman, but claimed that she flirted back.

He was being held in the county jail Wednesday in lieu of $100,000 bail.

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