Man arrested after allegedly setting house on fire with girlfriend inside

JACKSON, Tenn. — It wasn’t an ordinary house fire for the Jackson Fire Department Thursday.

“A call came in from a neighbor that there was smoke coming from the rear of the residence,” Jackson Fire Chief Max Stewart said.

The call came in around 4 p.m. to a house in the 500 block of East Baltimore Street.

“We always do a 360 around the house, and we saw most of the fire was in the rear in the kitchen,” Chief Stewart said.

Stewart says conditions were blinding and dangerous for his men.

“It was heavy black smoke when you entered the house, and when it fills up, you can’t see anything,” Stewart said.

This fire was no accident, though. Officials say shortly after, another call came in to 911 about domestic assault.

“The accelerant was laid out on the floor in a straight line. You can see where it had burnt,” Stewart said.

James Kerr, 47,  is charged with arson and domestic assault. Authorities say he set fires in different locations around the house using gasoline.

Officials say there were only the two people inside the house at the time. And when the fire was set, the victim ran next door to a neighbor’s house seeking help.

Stewart said Kerr left the scene, but Madison County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested him before he crossed into Henderson County.

We were there as the victim and her family returned to the house Friday morning. They didn’t want to comment.

Chief Stewart says no matter what it is, report the situation.

“If you see something, say something. Go ahead and call 911,” Stewart said.

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