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Brooksville man charged with setting fire to home with neighbor inside

Published:   |   Updated: July 29, 2014 at 03:56 PM

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— A Brooksville man faces charges of attempted first-degree murder and arson after Hernando deputies say he set fire to his neighbor’s home in Brookridge, Hernando deputies said.

Axel Kotowski, 62, is in the Hernando County Jail and being held on $60,000 bond.

At 3:35 a.m. Monday, sheriff’s deputies and county firefighters responded to 14204 Edmonds St. and saw flames coming from the rear of a single-wide mobile home owned by Laurie Davis.

Firefighters put out the blaze but it caused severe damage to the home.

Davis told deputies she ran out of the home and saw her neighbor, Kotowski, standing at the fire site.

Deputies contacted Kotowski at his home at 14231 Sandhurst St., which abuts Davis’ property.

Kotowski told deputies he notified the subdivision’s homeowners association on numerous occasions in reference to the condition of Davis’ home and property. He said he is trying to sell his property and believes Davis’ property is devaluing his home, a sheriff’s report said.

Kotowski said he has tried to help his neighbor financially but she refuses to clean her property, the report said.

Kotowski confirmed to deputies that after starting the fire, he returned to his home and retrieved one of the fire extinguishers. He then returned to the fire site and used it with no effect on the growing fire, the report said.

He said he was “trying to scare” Davis, the report said.

The state fire marshal was called to the scene and, after an investigation, the incident was deemed arson.

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