Arson was identified as the cause of a fire overnight Wednesday in the 2000 block of the Onalaska court in La Crosse, and police arrested a 29-year-old man who allegedly started the blaze.

Brandon M. Helke is being held in La Crosse County Jail for arson, intimidation of a victim, animal abuse (two counts), bodily harm, disorderly conduct while armed and bail jump.

According to the La Crosse Police Department, Helke was involved in a domestic incident with another person at the residence. He allegedly pointed a gun at the person and set the residence on fire after the person left.

Helke was slightly injured in the fire and was taken to a local hospital. One dog inside the residence died and another was resuscitated and handed over to animal control.

The fire broke out at around 1:15 a.m. and firefighters were on the scene in less than five minutes. The fire reached the second floor and the house suffered extensive fire, smoke and water damage.

Helke is being held on cash bonds totaling $ 1,150 pending the filing of a criminal complaint. Police describe the investigation as “active” and “ongoing”.


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