Man accused of starting fire on I-35 median

Austin Fire Department firetrucks (generic)_165261

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A man is accused of starting a fire on an Interstate 35 median that burned 50 yards of grass and vegetation.

An off-duty Austin police officer was driving home Saturday when he saw Marton Lee La Rocca, 37, hunched over a fire in the grass of a median between the service road and 12600 block of I-35, an area north of State Highway 45. According to an affidavit, La Rocca crossed the service road and went into the woods, which is where the officer stopped him.

Multiple fire trucks responded to extinguish the fire and the response shut down the service road and one lane of I-35. The fire was within 48 feet of an apartment complex, the affidavit said.

“The dry conditions of the vegetation, along with the 12 mph winds and gust up to 23 mph at the time of the fire could have spread the fire across the service road displaced multiple families in the apartment complex along with causing thousands of dollars in damage,” the affidavit said.

Travis County was under a burn ban at the time.

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