Bemidji Area Woman Charged with Arson Following Suspicious Fire
A Bemidji area woman is being charged with one count of first-degree arson in a dwelling and one count of first-degree property damage with a value of over $1,000 following fire on May 9th on Tranquility Lane in Beltrami County.
According to the criminal complaint, on May 9th, Deputy Nicholas Lorsbach responded to a complaint of a disorderly person. The owner of the property requested 34-year-old Cassandra Rose Mountain to be removed from the premises. While on route, Mountain stated that a fire was in the house.
Mountain claimed a fire started after she forgot a pizza in the oven while taking a shower. Upon arriving on the property, the homeowner showed Deputy Lorsbach messages on Facebook Messenger from Mountain. In the messages, Mountain wrote, “I’m at your house, and if you don’t come here now, I’ll burn it up.”
Deputy Jeff Roberts then located Mountain and placed her under arrest. In a post-Mirandized statement, Mountain said she placed the pizza in the oven but then took a 40-minute shower. While in the bathroom, she heard the smoke alarm, saw a large amount of smoke and subsequently called 911.
The firefighters stated that while conducting their search, no pizza could be found in the oven. The efforts also showed that the fire started in the dining room, not the kitchen as they were originally told. The victim also pointed out three televisions, an Apple iPad and an HP laptop, all with multiple stab marks. In total, the damage done to the electronics is reported to exceed over $2,000. Deputy Lorsbach also noticed a trail of what appeared to be motor oil leading from the garage to the dining room.
If found guilty, Mountain could face up to a maximum of 20 years, $20,000 fine or both for the first-degree arson felony. She could also face a maximum of 5 years, $10,000 or both for the first-degree charge of property damage with a value of over $1,000.
Mountain is currently in custody at the Beltrami County Jail.