St. Cloud bar owner admits setting business on fire in $1.4M insurance scheme2 min read
A 42-calendar year-previous gentleman has pleaded responsible to burning down his St. Cloud bar much more than two yrs back and then trying to acquire a lot more than $1.4 million in coverage.
Andrew C. Welsh, of neighboring Sauk Rapids, admitted Thursday in federal court in St. Paul to one count of arson just after environment a basement desk on fireplace with gasoline inside of the Push Bar and Parlor sometime just after 2 a.m. on Feb. 17, 2020. The developing and its contents ended up regarded a overall loss.
Welsh stays free of charge until sentencing, which has however to be scheduled.
9 days right after the fire, he submitted an insurance declare for $1.43 million simply because of the hearth.
According to the county’s costs:
Welsh bought the bar in 2016 with his spouse at the time for $850,000. He nonetheless owed $550,000 when the bar was set ablaze.
At the time of the fire, Welsh also confronted lawsuits from contractors who claimed he by no means paid out them for their get the job done.
In Welsh’s divorce a yr just before the hearth, a choose requested him to sell the bar and split the earnings with his wife. Having said that, he in no way set the bar on the sector.
Staff members advised law enforcement that gradual product sales pressured Welsh to lay off team and end serving faucet beer.
An worker instructed investigators he opened the bar all around 7 p.m. on Feb. 16, 2020. Welsh showed up afterwards that night and stayed in the basement lengthier than regular, the personnel told police. The bar shut about 1:30 a.m.
The staff left Welsh on your own in the bar just just after 2 a.m. In just the hour, police called to say the making was on fire. It took about 40 fireplace crew customers to extinguish the blaze, which burned into the morning.
By the conclude of the 7 days, a countrywide group of specialty arson investigators were being termed in to establish the fire’s origin. The brokers concluded the burn off designs failed to match an equipment hearth.
The investigation team’s pet dog sniffed out chemical accelerants atop the basement desk, which examined good for an “ignitable liquid,” the charges read.
Star Tribune team writer Andy Mannix contributed to this report.