Arson Suspect: "You Are Trying To Frame Me"

PANAMA CITY - A Panama City man is accused of setting two houses on fire.

Police arrested Everitt Tate, 48, Monday night after two suspicious fires, in the same neighborhood, within less than an hour of each other.

Around 9:15 p.m., firefighters responded to a fire at 4311 W. 22nd Street. The fire started on the front porch and burned some of the wood siding on the home.

Less than an hour later, figrefighters responded to a house fire just a few blocks away at 3701 W. 22nd Ct. While putting out the fire, police talked to a neighbor who said he put out a fire at the same house about 90 minutes before this one.

Lt. Robert Luther, who had set up a roadblock down the street, spotted Tate running from the scene. According to the arrest report, he tossed a beer bottle and a stack of brown paper bags on the ground and told Luther that he didn't do anything. When asked what he didn't do, Tate said "you are trying to frame me."

Police believe Tate took brown paper bags he got from a liquor store, set them against the houses and lit the bags on fire.

Tate has a history of arson. In 200, he served time in prison after he was convicted of arson.