Burglar may have started house fire near Palmetto

MANATEE - A burglar may be responsible for a fire that damaged a Palmetto-area home Sunday evening, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

The intruder left on a mechanic light after he broke into a safe, and the lamp apparently ignited the insulation in the attic of the house in the 9800 block of 40th Avenue East, Palmetto, at about 8:40 p.m. according to a news release.

The burglar or burglars entered the house through a rear garage, removed some acetylene tanks and took them into house after breaking window. Once inside, they used a torch to break into a safe and steal a Rolex watch and a diamond ring. Also, a pistol was stolen from underneath a mattress, according to the sheriff's office.

The mechanic light was left on above the safe, sparking a blaze that caused extensive damage to the house, according to the sheriff's office.