Bradenton man, 27, charged with setting trailer fire on Cortez Road

rdymond@bradenton.comNovember 18, 2013 


BRADENTON -- A 23-year-old Bradenton man was arrested after he set fire to a trailer Sunday night, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

The trailer, at the Orange Grove Mobile Home Park, 2615 Cortez Road W., sustained about $1,500 worth of damage to the structure and contents.

The fire was intentionally set about 10 p.m. Sunday in the bedroom of the female owner, said Deputy Fire Marshall Eric Center of Cedar Hammock Fire Rescue.

The woman was not home when the fire broke out, but a man was asleep in another bedroom in her trailer, Center said.

Franklin Terry Mitchell Jr., who also goes by Cory Mitchell, Terry Mitchell or Frank Mitchell, of the 5300 block of 26th Street West, was arrested just after midnight Monday after several witnesses told deputies that Mitchell was at the scene of the fire moments before it started and had just had a dispute with the woman, according to a Manatee County Sheriff's Office report.

A witness told deputies that he was walking back from the mobile home park's dumpster when Mitchell approached him and said he had just crawled into the victim's trailer through her bedroom window and "set her bed on fire because she didn't have my clothes from a week ago."

A total of three fire engines responded, and firefighters extinguished the fire within minutes, Center said.

The American Red Cross arrived and provided assistance to the trailer's owner, Center said.

"She will have to deal with smoke damage and she has no bed," Center added.

Investigators determined the fire was arson, Center said.

The argument with Mitchell over some of his clothing, which he had left at her trailer and she had put outside for him to pick up, provided a motive for arson, Center said.

The man in the other bedroom, who was not hurt, woke up when friends yelled that the trailer was on fire, the sheriff's office report states.

"He was able to run a garden hose into the window and put water on the fire, keeping it under control until we got there," Center said.

Mitchell was arrested coming out of the park's laundromat after the fire was put out and a white lighter was discovered in his front right pocket, according to the arrest report.

A detective from the Florida Bureau of Fire & Arson Investigations also has concluded that the fire was arson, according to the report.

The fire was contained to the one trailer and none of the roughly 75 to 100 other trailers in the park were affected, Center said.

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