Woman accused of intentionally setting east Austin duplex fire in August 2020

Fire at duplex on Tumbleweed Drive (AFD Photo)

Fire at duplex on Tumbleweed Drive (AFD Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A woman is charged with arson, a first-degree felony, in connection with a duplex fire that displaced six people in August of last year.

Evelyn Kay Kerns, 62, is accused of intentionally setting the fire at a duplex building in the 7400 block of Tumbleweed Drive, which is out in east Austin near Pecan Brook Drive.

Evelyn Kay Kerns, 62 (APD Photo)
Evelyn Kay Kerns, 62 (APD Photo)

According to an arrest affidavit for Kerns, fire investigators determined the fire to be intentionally set after examining the scene on August 23, 2020.

“During the investigation, Investigators found a blue bottle labeled ‘lighter fluid’ on the kitchen counter,” the affidavit said.

Investigators discovered Kerns lived in a unit of the duplex with a brother and sister whom she was unrelated to, according to the affidavit.

All residents inside the duplex were being evicted, and the brother and sister weren’t allowing Kerns to move in with them to their next place, saying Kerns had personal issues, the affidavit said.

Kerns is suspected of setting the fire in the brother’s room, where investigators determined the fire started, according to the affidavit.

She was found two weeks later in the area where she was interviewed by investigators and admitted to being present at the duplex when the fire happened.

KXAN has reached out to Kerns’ attorney and will update this story once a response is received.

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