A dispute sparked a house fire, court told

By TOBY WALKER

A MACLEAN man, who allegedly set fire to a house after an argument with another occupant on Tuesday, appeared in Grafton Local Court yesterday. Russell Dean Kapeen, 29, is alleged to have confessed to starting the fire that gutted a Hillcrest Avenue home around 1pm on Tuesday. He allegedly told police, while in custody at Maclean Police Station, that he ignited the home by lighting strips of paper on a stove element and then placing them underneath a bed, following the argument. Police had originally been called to investigate the argument but arrived to find the house engulfed in flames. According to investigating detectives, relatives who witnessed the argument smashed windows in an attempt to reach Kapeen, who had remained inside as the fire spread. Kapeen eventually smashed his way out of the house through a bedroom window. Detectives investigating the incident could not confirm whether the injuries for which Kapeen received treatment were self-inflicted, caused during the argument or sustained while he tried to break out of the burning house. Kapeen has been remanded in custody and will appear before Grafton Local Court again next Monday to face charges.



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