Former State Trooper Burns Down Brother’s Higganum Home

higganum house fire
Haddam Volunteer Fire Department

Police have arrested a former Connecticut State Trooper accused of torching his brother's home in the Higganum village of Haddam on Thursday morning.

Ronald Carlson, 50, of Portsmouth, Virginia, is accused of setting fire to the raised ranch at 575 Candlewood Hill Road around 10:30 a.m.

State police spokesperson Trooper First Class Kelly Grant said Ronald Carlson was a Connecticut State Trooper from January 1987 to October 1988, when he was fired. The reason for his termination is unclear.

Police said Carlson turned himself in and admitted to lighting the fire at the home of his brother, Thomas Carlson. A town official said Carlson used five gallons of gasoline and opened all the windows.

Firefighters were called in from nine departments, including Haddam, East Haddam, Haddam Neck, the City of Middletown, Middletown South District, Chester, Killingworth, Deep River and Durham.

The home was empty and fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. Crews siphoned water from a nearby pond, but the home and barn were destroyed, according to the Haddam Volunteer Fire Department.

Ronald Carlson was taken into custody and was brought to the Shoreline Clinic in Westbrook to be treated for burns on his arms and face, then transferred to the Bridgeport Hospital Burn Unit.

Thomas Carlson is staying with his sister, who said she is collecting donations at the town hall. Haddam First Selectwoman Melissa Schlag has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for Thomas Carlson, which already collected hundreds of dollars.

"I am heartbroken for the Carlson family. My thoughts are with them at this time and the Haddam/Higganum community is here for them," Schlag said in a statement Thursday night.

You can also donate money or clothing by calling Schlag's office at 860-345-8531 ext. 204 or emailing her directly.

Teri Everett, the owner of Ter's Package Store in Higganum, is taking donations as well.

"Whatever you want to give, this man lost everything. All he has are the clothes that are on his back," she said.

Ronald Carlson was charged with first-degree arson and third-degree burglary. His bond was set at $500,000, and police said he will appear in court "when medically possible."

The investigation is ongoing.

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