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Duplex Fire Leaves Owner Distraught

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Fort Lauderdale Duplex Fire

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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A Saturday morning fire left a property owner stunned after what he said his former tenant did.

“I feel bad for someone to have hit that level…Seriously,” said Barclay Garnett, who owned the duplex in Fort Lauderdale.

Half of the duplex is completely burned after Garnett said he served his tenant, Michael Grider, with an eviction notice.

“He just had a meltdown,” Garnett said. “He’s very frustrated with the system; not being able to practice law. I think it just really took a toll on him.”

Neighbors said Griderr used to be a lawyer in Georgia, but the Georgia bar said he resigned. In the meantime, Grider was said to be trying to passing the Florida bar exam, but things weren’t going well.

Witnesses said they saw Grider’s apartment going up in flames and saw him in his kayak in the water behind the duplex. It was then that someone called out to him.

“He said, ‘did you just leave your house?’ To the guy and he’s like ‘yeah,’ and he’s like ‘you know it’s on fire’ and the guy’s like ‘yeah,’” said neighbor Robert Jankowski. “And the guy that’s up here asked him ‘what did you do set it to fire?’ And he’s like ‘yeah.’”

At the same time, Josh and Shawna Izworski were out boating when they got a call that their home, which was next door to Griders, was almost on fire.

“Where are my dogs and please go get my dogs, tell them to get my dogs, we have two dogs, go get the dogs,” Shawna Izworski told neighbors.

A neighbor rescued their dog from the backyard and fire fighters put out the flames before they could cause damage next door.

Neighbors said Grider came out of the water and sat on the bank until police arrived and he was taken into custody. It left a big mess for Garnett to try and figure out.

“You think he just snapped?” asked CBS4’s Tiffani Helberg. “Yeah, I guess he did, it’s a shame, it really is, it’s kind of a sign of the times,” replied Garnett.

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