Former fire chief accused of arson

by Anne Millerbernd

The former fire chief of Babbitt, Minn. was indicted on federal charges that he set a fire in Superior National Forest, according to an article by the Star Tribune. Ryan Scharbar, the former chief is also accused of attempting to set a local lodge on fire while he was chief.

Scharbar is charged with setting fires in the forest on Oct. 7-9 and Oct. 11 in 2011, and April 29 and Sept. 10 of 2012, according to charges that were made public Tuesday.

Scharbar is also charged with attempted arson at Matilla's Birch Lake resort on Dec. 3, 2011, according to an article by the Associated Press.

The charges say the fires all occured near the city of Babbitt and were small, the largest one being five acres in size, and involved timber, underbrush and grass. 

Scharbar became fire chief in January 2008 and resigned on Dec. 26 2012, around the time city officials were informed of the federal investigation.

Scharbar is not in custody now according to his attorney Joe Tamburino and does not have a first court appearance scheduled, the Star Tribune reported.

Scharbar could not be reached by either publication for comment.