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Police: Man arrested for arson after setting Tallahassee restaurant's patio on fire

Posted at 12:38 PM, May 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-12 12:38:53-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — A man is behind bars on arson charges after police say he set a patio on fire at the Wild Cajun Seafood restaurant to "stay warm."

According to court documents, Tallahassee Police were patrolling the area of North Monroe Street when they observed a man standing over a fire in the patio area of Wild Cajun Seafood restaurant on May 7.

Officers immediately stopped at the restaurant and approached the suspect.

The restaurant patio is made of wood and is approximately 30 feet tall by 30 feet wide. Police say there were several boards actively burning in the middle of the patio and the fire was approximately two feet tall.

The suspect, who was identified as 55-year-old Daniel Swanberg, told police that he was "just trying to survive."

Due to the size of the fire, members of the Tallahassee Fire Department were called in to help extinguish the fire. Police say the restaurant was closed at the time of the incident and no one else was around.

Swanberg told officers that he wasn't trying to burn the whole place down and that he would replace everything.

Police say Swanberg went on to explain that he was "just trying to stay warm" and that he was going to "keep a real small fire."

During a search, investigators found a lighter in Swanberg's pocket.

Authorities say several picnic tables in the patio area were damaged during the fire. The amount of damaged caused during the fire was approximately $2,000, according to court documents.

Based on the evidence, Swanberg was arrested and transported to the Leon County Detention Facility. As of Tuesday, Swanberg is being held in jail without bond for 2nd degree arson.