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Chippewa Co. man arrested on charges of setting fire to the same house twice

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CHIPPEWA COUNTY — The Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday a 25-year-old man has been arrested on arson charges.

On Nov. 14 around 1:15 p.m., central dispatch received a 911 call about a structure fire. Kinross Fire and the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office were sent to 17 Forest Lodge in Kincheloe.

The fire was quickly put out, with limited damage to the residence, deputies said. Power was shut off to the home at this time.

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Then on Nov. 20 at 8:08 a.m., central dispatch received another 911 call about a structure fire at the same residence.

The man living at the house was the 911 caller on both dates, deputies said. And with no power at the house, deputies found the second fire highly suspicious.

The sheriff’s office investigated the fires, interviewed the suspect and conducted a search warrant at the residence. It was found that the suspect had made an insurance claim for his loss in the fires, deputies said.

“It very easily could have been passed off as just another fire. But with the extra work the deputies did and myself, we were able to deem it as arson and arrest a suspect,” said Det. Douglass Mitchell of the sheriff’s office.

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Joseph Smith was arrested on Dec. 1 and charged with two counts of arson and one count of arson of an insured dwelling.

MSP Fire Investigators, Kinross Fire and Central Dispatch assisted the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office in the investigation.


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