Local News

Carrboro man charged with burning down parents' home

Posted July 29, 2016

— A Carrboro man surrendered to police Thursday after his parents' home went up in flames.

A neighbor called 911 to report being awakened by an explosion and seeing the house at 204 Bruton Drive on fire.

Investigators thought the incident was strange but didn't immediately deem the fire suspicious, Carrboro police Capt. Chris Atak said.

"A house getting a loud boom and bursting into flames is an unusual way for accidental fires to start," Atak said. "I think we have to start at 0 and see what we are able to develop."

Before police and fire investigators got the chance to fully develop a theory on what happened at the home, Christopher Jens Martens surrendered at the Chapel Hill Police Department, telling officers he had "done something bad."

Atak said the home that burned is owned by Martens' parents, who were out of town.

Martens, 46, often stays at the home when his parents are away, neighbors said.

He was turned over to Carrboro police, who charged him with second-degree arson. He was being held Friday in the Orange County jail under a $5,000 bond.

Police provided no motive for the crime.

Inspectors condemned the home on Friday because of extensive damage.

Despite the densely forested neighborhood and houses that sit close by, Atak said no one was hurt and no other homes were damaged.


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