Granite Falls, Minn., apartment resident charged with setting building on fire – West Central Tribune
GRANITE FALLS — Granite Falls police have arrested a suspect in connection with a series of fires that broke out at a six-story apartment building in Granite Falls in July.
Brenda Lynn Stang, 56, a resident of Henry Hill Apartments in Granite Falls, is charged with four counts of first-degree arson and one count of tampering with a fire system.
She appeared Friday afternoon in Yellow Medicine County District Court. Judge Keith Helgeson set an absolute bond at $100,000 and a conditional bond at $25,000. The conditions include that she does not enter bars or liquor stores and that she does not consume alcohol.
Stang was in custody Friday afternoon at the Yellow Medicine County Jail, according to the online custody listing.
Granite Falls Police and Fire Services responded to reports of fires inside the first floor of Henry Hill Apartments on four separate dates in July 2022 – July 1, July 2, July 9 and July 17 – according to a press release from Police Chief Brian Struffert.
These fires were all started in common areas on the first floor of the building, with one fire starting inside the only elevator.
“Fortunately, no one was physically injured as a result of any of these fires,” Struffert said in the press release.
The 54-unit building was originally designed for seniors.
The investigation into the fires and damage caused by the fires will continue, and additional criminal charges will likely be added, according to the news release.
The Granite Falls Police Department was assisted in the arson investigation by the Granite Falls Fire Department and the Minnesota State Fire Marshal’s Office.
According to a criminal complaint filed against Stang, fires have been reported in metal trash cans in bathrooms, the elevator, and a rear stairwell on multiple occasions.
In three of the cases, tenants or others extinguished the fires before firefighters could respond to the scene. In the other, the fire went out in a bathroom before being discovered.
A tenant in the building used a fire extinguisher to put out a reported fire at 12:23 a.m. on July 9. It started in a trash can full of newspapers and apparently spread to a flower arrangement on an end table in a hall.
The tenant then observed the defendant sitting outside on a bench “asking what was going on”, according to the complaint.
On July 17, a person reported putting out a fire involving cardboard and other objects on the ground behind the building. A woman’s bag was in a shopping cart next to the trash can and contained Stang’s pill bottle with her name on it, according to the complaint.
She reportedly admitted to starting the fires when she went to the Granite Falls Police Department on September 1 to speak to an officer. She said she did not remember starting the fire from the trash can, but admitted to setting off the fire alarm between August 19 and August 21 “but did not know why she did it”, according to the complaint.