Barron Firefighter charged with arson

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Justin Cloud

Justin J. Cloud, 32, of Barron, has been charged with two counts of arson of property other than a building, negligent han-dling of burning material, and three counts of second degree recklessly endanger-ing safety.
Detective Nelson, with the Barron County Sheriff’s Department, reports on May 5, 2020 at approximately 8:47 a.m., the sheriff’s de-partment received a 911 emergency call of a grass fire in the ditch located near the intersection of 10 1/2 Avenue and 17th Street in the Township of Maple Grove. The caller reported that she observed a younger male at the scene of the grass fire who left rapidly in a truck traveling northbound on 17th Street. Detective Nelson reports that members of the Barron Maple Grove Fire Department arrived on scene and quickly extinguished a small grass fire in the east side of the ditch.
In the course of the in-vestigation, Detective Nel-son spoke with Fire Chief Romsos and Assistant Fire Chief Cole, with the Bar-ron Maple Grove Fire De-partment. Chief Romsos advised Detective Nelson there had been two previous suspicious grass fires in and around the City of Barron.
Chief Romsos stated on April 26, 2020 at approxi-mately 5:03 a.m., a voluntary member of his fire depart-ment who he identified as Justin Cloud had called the fire department and reported a grass fire near the railroad tracks and trestle behind the old public health building on the east side of Barron. Detective Nelson notes the location of the grass fire on April 26 is directly next to the trailer park where Cloud lives. The grass fire burned approximately one-quarter acre of land along the rail-road tracks near the trailer park before fire fighters with the Barron Maple Grove Fire Department extinguished it. Damage caused by this grass fire exceeds $100.
Chief Romsos stated on May 3, at approximately 3:15 p.m., the fire depart-ment was paged to a grass fire near the GB Sales and Humane Society buildings in the industrial park in Barron. Detective Nelson notes the location of the grass fire on May 3 is less than 400 yards from where Cloud lives. The grass fire burned approxi-mately one-half acre of land before firefighters with the Barron Maple Grove Fire Department extinguished it. Damage caused by this grass fire also exceeds $100.
Detective Nelson reports the vehicle that the female observed leaving the scene of the grass fire on May 5, matched the description of the vehicle that Cloud drives. Detective Nelson reports that he and Detective Hagen, with the Barron County Sheriff’s Department, made contact with Cloud at his residence on May 14. Cloud confessed to starting all three grass fires.
Cloud stated on April 26, he left his residence on foot and walked to the north side of the trailer park where he lives and then down the railroad tracks. He stated he used paper, cologne, and a lighter to set the grass fire. After setting the fire and observing it burning, Cloud stated he walked back home and called 911 to report the fire. Cloud confirmed the fire burned approximately one-quarter acre of land along the railroad tracks near the trailer park.
Cloud previously stated to Chief Romsos that he saw some kids walking in the area at the time of the fire. Cloud heard and saw the fire trucks arrive, but did not respond to the fire call. Cloud stated he does not know who owns the land along the railroad tracks and did not have consent to set the grass fire at that location.
Cloud stated on May 3, he walked through a trailer lot on the north side of the trailer park where he resides back into the woods near the industrial park. There, he set a fire near the GB Sales Building. Cloud stated he brought some paper, a bottle of cologne, and a lighter with him. Cloud stated he found a brush pile, sprayed cologne on the paper to ignite it, and then set the brush pile on fire. Cloud confirmed the fire burned approximately one-half acre of brush land.
Cloud stated that, after starting the fire, he walked back to his residence. Cloud stated there were buildings near by where he set the fire. Cloud estimated there was a building approximately 200 yards away from where he set the fire. Cloud stated he does not know who owns the land near the industrial park where he set the fire and did not have consent to set the grass fire at that location.
Cloud stated on May 5, he stopped along the roadway and noticed a pile of some grass in the ditch. He stated he used a lighter and a facial tissue to set the dry grass on fire. Cloud stated he then left and recalled meeting a vehicle as he drove away. Cloud stated the fire blazed over an area between 14 to 16 inches in diameter. Cloud stated he was there for approximately two minutes when he left. Cloud stated he does not know who owns the land in the ditch, and did not have consent to set the grass fire at that location.
If convicted for arson of property other than a build-ing, he may be fined $10,000 for each count, or imprisoned not more than three years and six months or both, for each count. For negligent handling of burning material, he may be fined not more than $10,000, or imprisoned not more than nine months or both. For all three counts of second degree recklessly endangering safety, he may be fined not more than $25,000, or imprisoned not more than ten years or both. His adjourned initial appear-ance is scheduled for June 5, 2020.

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