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Waseca man accused of intentionally setting basement fire

(Waseca, MN) – A Waseca man is accused of intentionally starting a fire in a residence in the city last May.

Jesse Allan Tollefson, 27, was charged Monday in Waseca County Court with felony 1st-degree arson and misdemeanor 5th-degree arson.

According to the complaint, officials responded to a home on 4th Street NE for a basement fire on May 27, 2018.  The property owner immediately told officers that Jesse Tollefson had something to do with the fire.  Tollefson was sitting in the grass in front of the home at the time, according to court documents.

The deputy state fire marshal found a juice bottle filled with gasoline inside the clothes dryer, according to the complaint.  He told investigators it appeared someone intentionally poured gasoline on a wood support beam in the basement and lit it on fire.

On May 29th, Tollefson reportedly told his probation agent “yeah, yeah, I burned the house down, I figured that,” according to the complaint.  The following day, court documents say a Waseca County detective photographed a shed on the property and located a gasoline container.  Nearby was rolling tobacco and a can of Mountain Dew, consistent with items Tollefson used, according to the property owner.

On March 21st, a report from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension matched prints on the gasoline-filled juice bottle found at the scene to Tollefson’s fingerprints.  The liquid in the bottle tested positive for gasoline, according to the complaint.

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