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Embarrass man charged with burning down garage in rural Chisholm

Police said they were unable to take a statement from the suspect due to his "delusional rambling."

Thomson Township fire
A home at 21 Ridge Road in Thomson Township was destroyed by fire Jan. 16, 2022.
Contributed / Lisa Johnson

A 36-year-old man from Embarrass has been charged with setting a fire that destroyed a garage in rural Chisholm and crashing a pickup truck into an emergency vehicle at the scene.

Thomas Gregory Evans was arraigned Thursday in State District Court in Hibbing on charges of first-degree arson, third-degree driving while impaired and reckless driving.

Authorities responded to a report of a garage fire around 7:12 p.m. Tuesday on the 5900 block Krogerus Road in Balkan Township. The owner had arrived home and discovered the structure on fire.

Shortly after fire crews and law enforcement arrived on scene, Evans allegedly returned in a truck, without its lights on, and crashed at a high rate of speed into the back of a rescue vehicle. As officers removed Evans from the vehicle, he was heard "stating that he started the fire and that he could not help himself because he was a pyromaniac," according to a criminal complaint.

The complaint stated that Evans added that he "hated" the owner of the residence, and investigators said they discovered that Evans had been staying with the owner before recently getting kicked out.

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Officers attempted to interview Evans but were unable to provide a Miranda warning because he "would continually interrupt them with delusional rambling," according to the complaint.

No injuries resulted from the fire and collision, though the garage and several vehicles were lost to the fire. The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office and Minnesota State Fire Marshal's Office were investigating the incident.

The Chisholm police and fire departments also responded to the scene.

Judge Robert Friday set Evans' bail at $50,000, with his next court appearance set for Nov. 18.

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