Cloquet man charged with arson, burglary in house fireA 23-year-old Cloquet man was charged Friday in Carlton County Court after he allegedly set fire to a home on the Fond du Lac Reservation and had to be dragged out by emergency personnel last week.
By: Lisa Baumann, Duluth News Tribune, Pine Journal
A 23-year-old Cloquet man was charged Friday in Carlton County Court after he allegedly set fire to a home on the Fond du Lac Reservation and had to be dragged out by emergency personnel last week.
Eriberto Martinez Smith, 23, faces charges in that incident and another over Sept. 18-19. In the case involving the fire, which destroyed the home of his girlfriend and their two young children, Smith is charged with first-degree arson and second-degree burglary. Both are felonies.
Smith also reportedly argued with his girlfriend several hours before the fire and faces two misdemeanor charges of domestic assault, one count of misdemeanor theft and one count of interfering with a 911 call, a gross misdemeanor.
On Sept. 18, Smith had been at a Cloquet bar with his girlfriend when the two began to argue, according to Cloquet police. Smith reportedly stopped the victim from calling authorities and took her purse and cell phone before leaving the scene.
Police said they were searching for Smith when they were dispatched to his girlfriend’s home at 1794 Coffey Road at 4:38 a.m. Sept. 19. They found the home in flames and Smith inside refusing to come out. Officers said he had cut his wrists with a knife and that he wanted to stay in the home as it burned.
Eventually, an officer and a Cloquet Area Fire District firefighter were able to pull Smith outside after grabbing hold of his feet. Cloquet Police Sgt. Carey Ferrell was taken to Cloquet Community Memorial Hospital and treated for smoke inhalation. Smith reportedly also was taken to the hospital in Cloquet, treated for smoke inhalation and wrist injuries and transferred to a Duluth hospital for psychiatric treatment. He was taken to the Carlton County Jail late last week.
In court Friday, Smith was ordered to have no contact with the victim. He remains in Carlton County Jail with bond set at $40,000 in the first case and $12,000 in the second. Additionally, he is being held without bond for reportedly violating probation.
He was convicted in July of disorderly conduct and driving with a suspended license. In May, Smith was convicted of felony third-degree drug possession. He is scheduled to appear in court again on Wednesday.