Homeless man accused of starting brush fire on Big Pine Key

Edgar Messenger
Edgar Messenger

BIG PINE KEY, Fla. – A homeless man was arrested after deputies said he caused a brush fire Friday on Big Pine Key.

Edgar Messenger, 49, faces charges of malicious land burning and failure to control or report a dangerous fire.

Adam Linhardt, a spokesman for the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, said Messenger started a fire in a shopping cart in a wooded area where he lives near 24th Lane and Wilder Road. The fire got out of control, burning a half-acre of land and prompting some residents to evacuate their homes, Linhardt said.

The fire comes almost two weeks after a large brush fire destroyed one home and burned about 100 acres on Big Pine Key. Authorities said the two fires were unrelated.