A Nebraska City man set fire to a house he owns Friday because he didn't want his 29-year-old son living there any longer, according to an investigator for the Nebraska Fire Marshal's Office.

Rex D. Peterson Sr., 54, was charged Monday in Otoe County Court with first-degree arson, a felony punishable by up to 50 years in prison. Peterson posted 10 percent of $200,000 bail and was released from jail.

The Nebraska City Fire Department responded to a call about 4 p.m. Friday. Firefighters discovered flames coming from the first and second story of the home.

Nebraska State Fire Marshal's Office investigator Adam Matzner said in an arrest affidavit that he interviewed Peterson, who lives nearby, after the fire was extinguished and was told that the man started the fire because “he didn't want his son, Rex D. Peterson II, living at the residence any longer.”

Matzner states in the affidavit that the father “immediately confessed to pouring gasoline throughout the house, then igniting paper towels which ignited the gasoline, causing a fire within the dwelling.”

The affidavit doesn't say why the father wanted his son out of the home, and attempts to reach either man for comment were unsuccessful. John Voelker, a Nebraska City attorney retained by the elder Peterson, declined to comment.

The investigator said the son and his girlfriend were at home when the fire began but escaped without injury.

Contact the writer:

402-444-1272, kevin.cole@owh.com

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