FOLEY -- The tenant of a northeast St. Cloud apartment that was found on fire Tuesday night has been charged with arson.

Fire crews responded to 1212 2nd Street Northeast at around 8:45 p.m. Upon arrival, police officers were evacuating the building. Firefighters discovered a second-floor apartment on fire and put out the flames before they spread to other units.

Police spoke with the tenant, 19-year-old Hunter Hipp, who allegedly admitted he started the fire.

According to the charges filed in Benton County, Hipp said he lit the stove on fire, put a bunch of flammable stuff in the corner, and lit that on fire as well. Hipp told officers he burned a wooden painting, a large cardboard box, clothes, toilet paper, and papers that were lying around.

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Court records show officers asked him why he did it and Hipp said he didn't have an answer for that other than to say he wanted to be arrested and thought arson was the quickest and easiest way.

Records show Hipp acknowledged what he did was dangerous and that people could have gotten hurt, but went ahead and did it anyway.

Hipp is charged with one count of 1st-degree arson. He's due in court next week.

No one was hurt in the blaze, but the fire caused an estimated $57,000.


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