- Associated Press - Friday, June 24, 2016

GULFPORT, Fla. (AP) - A Tampa Bay area man has been charged with setting a fire that killed 10 exotic birds and two cats.

The Tampa Bay Times (https://goo.gl/8AaXvJ) reports that 51-year-old Thomas L. Bennett was arrested Tuesday and charged with first-degree arson and animal cruelty.

The State Fire Marshal’s office investigated the June 3 blaze. It caused about $80,000 in damage to the Gulfport home.

Investigators say Bennett had argued with a woman inside his house before dousing the garage in gasoline and lighter fluid and lighting it on fire. Authorities say he then tried to use a propane blow torch in the living room to set the carpet and furniture on fire.

Bennett was being held on $50,000 bail. Jail records didn’t list an attorney.

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Information from: Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.), https://www.tampabay.com.

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