Bemidji Man Charged With 1st Degree Arson
A Bemidji man was charged on Thursday with arson for allegedly starting a fire at a house located just north of Bemidji.
Damian Patrick Joseph Smith, 20, made his first appearance in Beltrami County Court where he was charged with 1st Degree Arson. He is accused of starting a fire at a house located at 722 Sunset Way on January 1, 2018.
The couple who owns the home told police that Smith was an acquaintance of their grandson and arrived late on January 1st looking for a place to stay for that night and they agreed to allow him to stay temporarily.
According to the criminal complaint in the case, Smith told investigators that he intentionally started the curtains in the house on fire and knew that the house would burn down if the fire was not extinguished.
Smith informed deputies that he started the fire because of a comment made by one of the homeowners.
If convicted, Smith would face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $20,000 fine or both.