Adult male currently in custody pending formal criminal charges
NORTHERN TOWNSHIP, BEMIDJI, MN: At approximately 8:22 PM on Monday, January 1, 2018, The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office and Bemidji Fire Department responded to a reported house fire in the 700 block of Sunset Way in Northern Township. Northern Township borders the City of Bemidji.
Upon arrival, Deputies found flames and heavy black smoke coming from the lower level of the home. All of the occupants reportedly had escaped the residence. Deputies attempted to quell the flames with their available fire extinguishers but were unsuccessful.
During preliminary interviews and observing the occupants, information and notable odd and erratic behavior was observed by one of the occupants. Deputies confronted the subject regarding his odd behavior and subsequently took custody of him for his safety.
As a result of the subsequent interviews from the subject and witnesses, Damian Patrick Smith, Age 20, of Bemidji, MN was arrested at the scene. He was initially treated for smoke inhalation at Sanford Emergency Department and released after being treated and is currently in custody at the Beltrami County Jail pending a formal review for criminal charges by the Beltrami County Attorney’s Office for Arson-1st Degree, Attempted Murder- 1st Degree, and obstruction of legal process.
The investigation is considered open and pending by the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office and the Office of Minnesota State Fire Marshal.
Assisting the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office was the Bemidji Fire Department, Bemidji Ambulance Service, Office of Minnesota State Fire Marshal and US Border Patrol.
Chief Deputy Ernie Beitel
Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office