Man charged in connection with White Bear Lake fourplex fire

A White Bear Lake man has been charged with a felony for his alleged role in a fire at the fourplex where he lived that left another resident critically injured.

The fire erupted late Sunday night from a garage within a townhome complex on Aspen Court in White Bear Lake. A criminal complaint states 911 callers reported hearing “things blowing up.”

When police arrived, a man pointed officers in the direction of his son, 45-year-old Christian Thomas Dahm.

“He’s over there. He started the fire,” the man said.

Dahm was found naked except for a pair of pants around his ankles, and he fell limp when police handcuffed him and had to be carried away.

Christian Thomas Dahm (Courtesy of Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office)

The wife of Dahm’s father was rescued from the residence, though she had trouble breathing and had suffered some burn injuries. She was brought to Regions Hospital in critical condition and remained on a ventilator as of Tuesday, the complaint states.

While in custody, Dahm told an investigator that he was working on a fishing pole over a pan of motor oil when he lit a cigarette with a torch.

“All of a sudden, there was a fire,” Dahm told investigators.

Accounts from Dahm’s father and a neighbor indicate Dahm was yelling, throwing things around and making banging noises in the garage in the moments leading up to the fire.

Dahm’s father and his wife were allegedly concerned Dahm was high on methamphetamine and went to check on him. When they opened the door to the garage, Dahm’s father said it was “like everything exploded,” charging documents state.

A witness recalled seeing “flames hurling out of the garage.”

Dahm is charged with one count of negligent fires resulting in great bodily harm, but the complaint notes more charges could be added as the investigation unfolds. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.

At Dahm’s initial court appearance Wednesday morning, a judge set his bail at $50,000. He remains in custody, jail records show. His next hearing is scheduled for June 9.