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Pine City Man Charged in Connection to Barn Fire

A man detained during a fire near Pine City last week is now facing charges after a match he allegedly lit caused thousands of dollars in damage and destroyed a barn.

Responders were called to the property, located along Freedom Road, on November 20 after smoke was spotted billowing from the structure. The barn was fully engulfed in flames by the time firefighters arrived on scene.

According to the criminal complaint, Dustin Botham was detained by a deputy who found him walking down the road barefoot with burrs stuck to his clothing.

While talking to the deputy, the complaint stated that Botham admitted to smoking marijuana in the barn. Botham reportedly told deputies that a match relit and caused the fire. He said he had got nervous and left the barn without reporting it.

He reportedly told law enforcement that he was Michael Bothum and claimed he did not know where Dustin Botham was. The deputy contacted Dustin's father, who said that Michael was living in a hallway house away from the area. He confirmed that the deputy was actually talking to Dustin.

The property owner told deputies that there was around $10,000 worth of tools in the barn. She also said that Bothum had previously been found on the property stealing things and sleeping in the barn. The suspect was reportedly found in the barn at 2 a.m. three days earlier.

A search of the area north of the barn located several areas with cockle burrs. Deputies also found a burn mark on the right shoulder of Bothum's jacket.

Bothum has been charged with felony negligent fire and felony third-degree burglary.

Picture taken by Joe Keyport.

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