FAIRBANKS, Alaska - A Fairbanks man told police he started a fire in his apartment Thursday morning because he was having a bad week and needed to relieve some stress.

Jeffery M. Sessoms, 38, has been charged with first-degree arson and third-degree criminal mischief, both felonies.

Firefighters were called to a four-plex at 1112 27th Ave. shortly before 2:30 a.m. for a report of a structure fire. The small fire in Sessoms' living room was quickly extinguished by his sister's boyfriend before firefighters arrived on the scene.

Police were notified about a half-hour later when the fire marshal suspected arson.

Sessoms at first denied starting any fire but later admitted he used a highly flammable liquid, believed to be acetone, to burn a small section of carpeting, according to a criminal complaint filed in court.

He then called his sister and her boyfriend, who live in the apartment above him, and told them to leave the building because it was on fire.

Sessoms, who said he had been drinking beforehand, told police, "he was having a bad week and just needed a release," according to the complaint.

He was reportedly upset about losing his job, issues with his girlfriend and being evicted.

Smoke and fire damage to the apartment was estimated at $2,000.

Sessoms was convicted of driving with a revoked license last year but has no other criminal history in Alaska.

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