SPRING HILL (WJON News) -- A Stearns County man is charged with 1st-degree arson after he allegedly tried to burn down the house he is living in.

The sheriff's office was called to a home along Highway 4 in Spring Hill at around 10:15 p.m. Monday. The caller, 46-year-old James Nyhus, told dispatch that a fire had started in an upstairs bathroom and he couldn't go outside because someone was going to shoot him.

Deputies arrived to find Nyhus hanging out an upstairs window with smoke coming out of the house.

When officers made a forced entry, they found the stairway covered with debris that was blocking their path. When they made their way upstairs, officers noticed debris from a fire on the floor and fire damage to the bathroom window frames.

Court records allege Nyhus told the deputies that he lit toilet paper on fire so that people would leave him alone.

During a sweep of the house, several pieces of charred toilet paper were found and Nyhus showed signs of impairment.

A roommate who wasn't home at the time of the incident told officers that Nyhus had been drinking the day before, was acting strangely, and was talking to people who weren't there.

Records show Nyhus admitted he had been using methamphetamine during the last couple of days. Firefighters later found a glass pipe commonly used to smoke meth.





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