Mechanicsville man charged with arson

Mechanicsville man charged with arson for trying to burn down rental

Donald Manns (source: Knox County Sheriff's Office) Donald Manns (source: Knox County Sheriff's Office)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Knoxville firefighters say a Mechanicsville man tried to burn down a house he was renting.

The fire started just before midnight Saturday at 421 Citico Street.

Firefighters were able to put out the flames in a couple of hours, but the home sustained $15,000 in damage.

Donald Manns, 42, is now being charged with arson.

According to an arrest warrant, witnesses told officers Manns lit a bag on fire with a cigarette lighter and placed it at the bottom of the house.

The witnesses say Manns then left the scene in a white vehicle, but later returned on a bicycle.

Manns' landlord says he had been having problems with Manns and was attempting to get an eviction warrant.

Another witness said he heard Manns say, "I am gonna burn that place to the ground before I let him evict me," the day before the fire.

Manns was taken into police custody at the scene. He denies starting the fire.

Manns is scheduled to appear in court for the arson charge on Sept. 23. He is also scheduled to appear in court on October 7 and 8 for a number of previous accusations including theft, drug possession, and resisting arrest.

Manns has a long criminal history in Knox County dating back to 2002. His record includes convictions for theft, shoplifting, trespassing, resisting arrest, and assault.

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