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New London, Minn., man faces arson charge

WILLMAR -- Paul Allen Baumann, 23, of New London, made his first court appearance Wednesday on a second-degree arson charge for allegedly setting a semi truck on fire in July at the Hillcrest Truck Stop.

Unconditional bail was set at $20,000. His next appearance is Sept. 24 in Kandiyohi County District Court.

According to the criminal complaint, Baumann all-egedly ad-mitted to setting the fire because a man refused to lend him money. He also showed investigators burns, on his arms, which he said he suffered when he set the July 16 blaze.

The Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office was alerted to the fire around 11:20 p.m. July 16. The responding firefighters moved two semi trucks closest to the burning truck away from the fire and then extinguished the blaze. Investigators found a white antifreeze bottle containing a combustible fuel near the truck. The owner of the truck estimated the value at $40,000.

The owner reported to investigators the next day that Baumann had set the fire after the owner refused to lend him $300. Baumann allegedly admitted to taking a jug of gasoline, pouring it on the truck and then setting the fire with a cigarette lighter. He said he had been drinking and was angry about the refusal to lend the money.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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