Palm Bay man accused of arson in 'the compound'

By Caitlin Wilson, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, July 17, 2017, 6:23 PM EDT

A suspected arsonist in Palm Bay is behind bars after action by law enforcement and a resident in the area.

  • Mathew Milton purposely set fire, according to police
  • Resident called 911 after hearing loud noise
  • Milton to face fines and probation if found guilty

“It really is disturbing. What kind of person would come out and start a fire, for who knows what reason?" Palm Bay Police Lt. Mike Bandish said. "I can’t see any purpose in putting people’s lives in danger."

Charred grass and broken bottles remain after police said 35-year-old Mathew Milton started a fire on purpose late Saturday night.

More than one location was found burning; police say they found two other locations off Wingham Road burning in an area known as "the compound."

Police say a 911 call came in from a resident who heard what sounded like an explosion in the area. They found Milton not far from where the fires started and called authorities.

He was arrested and booked on a DUI charge and a malicious land burning charge.

“We constantly enforce that area. We are out there. This is a good arrest. ... This is one guy that is not going to cause trouble for the city of Palm Bay anymore,” Bandish said.

Police said they have problems with trespassing, speeding and racing through the area — even people starting different fires.

“We don’t want people coming out there causing crimes, racing, driving their four-wheelers through there. We are not going to put up with it,” Bandish said.

Milton was released on bond Sunday. If found guilty he could face fines and probation time.