Owner of Lyndon Station bar that exploded earlier this month now charged with arson
LYNDON STATION, Wis. — The owner of a Juneau County bar that exploded earlier this month is now accused of intentionally blowing it up.
Heath Fjorden, 43, of Baraboo, was charged Wednesday with arson of a building with intent to defraud and two counts each of damage to property by means of explosives and first-degree recklessly endangering safety.
The explosion and fire rocked Beagles Bar on West Flint Street in Lyndon Station in the early morning hours of Sept. 1.
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According to a criminal complaint, a detective surveying the scene after firefighters put out the flames smelled gas and found two five-gallon gas cans tipped over in the basement. There were also gas-soaked rags lying around on the floor.
Investigators also found what appeared to be bloody handprints and a wig “that could have been worn in an attempt to disguise the person responsible for the arson,” the complaint said.
The complaint also alleges multiple people expressed concerns to police and fire officials about incidents that happened in the days leading up to the explosion, including about a gas leak that closed the bar on Aug. 28.
According to the complaint, law enforcement officers found Fjorden at a home in the town of Germantown in rural Juneau County around 15 hours after the explosion was reported. Fjorden had significant burns on multiple parts of his body, which he said were from a grilling accident at his home in Baraboo. He also denied being at the bar on the night before the explosion.
After getting a search warrant for the home in Juneau County, investigators reportedly found clothing of Fjorden’s that smelled like gas.
The bar was empty at the time of the blast, but two of the three apartments in the building had someone inside at the time; they were able to get out.
A bench warrant was issued for Fjorden on Wednesday; according to the complaint, he is still receiving inpatient medical care for his burn injuries.
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