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Pine City man charged with arson in Jan. 21 barn fire

A Pine City man has been charged with second-degree arson and third-degree burglary in connection with a barn fire on Sunday.

According to the criminal complaint, Pine County Sheriff’s Office deputies and fire department personnel responded to a structure fire at 410 St. Croix Road SE on Jan. 21st.

The blaze resulted in a total loss to the barn, with costs exceeding $1,000.

Authorities noticed footprints and fresh bicycle tracks in the area of the burning building.

A deputy familiar with 33-year-old Dustin Bothum was aware that he is homeless and often rides a bike around town. 

Bothum was pending charges for a Nov. 20 barn fire on Freedom Road that he admitted to starting, which he claimed was accidental.

Bothum was located by law enforcement at a Pine City residence and admitted to also setting the Jan. 21 barn fire, again claiming it was an accident.

The complaint states that Bothum admitted to hanging out at the barn without permission from the owner. He told authorities he had gone to the barn to "check the vibes."

He said he dropped a lit torch lighter in some oil. The fire "went up" before he told authorities he got scared and left without calling 911.

The owner of the barn said no oil or gas was kept in the barn, and that Bothum did not have permission to be in the barn or cause damage to it.

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