A young man who told investigators lighting fires helps him relieve stress has been charged with multiple felony counts of arson after allegedly setting wildfires south of Ogilvie on July 21, not far from his home. The entire state of Minnesota is currently in a drought with a high fire danger in Kanabec County. 

According to the criminal complaint filed by the Kanabec County Attorney’s Office, on Wednesday, July 21, the Minnesota DNR Forestry Field Station in Mora responded to several wildfires along 421st Ave., eventually crossing the county border into Mille Lacs County. 

One of the responding firefighters recognized an individual riding by on a four wheeler from another grass fire incident in April, 2021. The individual was identified as David Lucas Goebel, of Milaca, who turned 18 in June. 

Not the first time

The firefighter recognized Goebel from an incident in April, 2021. 

According to the criminal complaint filed by the Mille Lacs County Attorney’s Office, Goebel allegedly started a series of grass fires in April.

On April 4, Goebel allegedly started a fire then reported the fire to authorities; Goebel claimed he saw the fire on his way home from work. He left before the fire department arrived to put out the fire. 

On April 15, Goebel was observed at another grass fire by the same deputy who responded to the April 4 incident. 

On April 17, two more grass fires appeared not far from each other along 140th Street. Upon questioning, Goebel admitted to setting the grass fires. 

After being questioned in the July 21 fires, Goebel allegedly told a Kanabec County sergeant that he lights the fires because it helps him to cope with stress and makes him feel better. 

In Kanabec County, Goebel was charged with three felony counts of wildfire arson. Goebel was charged as a juvenile in Mille Lacs County with four felony counts of wildfire arson for the April incidents. 

Each count has a maximum sentence of a $10,000 fine and/or 5 years in prison.

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