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Court documents say Ironton man started fires and made threats

The accused was laughing at the complainant when he tried to extinguish the fire, and then he pushed him in the chest and swung at him two to three times.

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A 62-year-old Ironton man is accused of domestic assault and for starting fires inside and outside a residence in Ironton.

Paul John Strom was charged Thursday, Aug. 26, in Crow Wing County District Court in Brainerd with two felony counts of making terroristic threats and domestic assault and a misdemeanor of unlawfully burning.

The charges stem from a 911 call Aug. 22 to Crow Wing County deputies regarding a domestic disturbance on the 20000 block of Tower Road in Ironton. According to the criminal complaint, Strom was using methamphetamine, was starting fires and causing a domestic disturbance. The complainant, who is known to Strom, stated Strom was currently at the house, and he was at the end of the driveway.

Paul John Strom
Paul John Strom

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Deputies observed grass on fire in front of the residence. A sergeant attempted to stomp out the fire, but ultimately needed a fire extinguisher from the squad vehicle to extinguish the fire.

The complainant told the sergeant he was talking to a woman on the phone and he could hear Strom yelling in the background. He decided to come to the residence to make sure everything was OK.

The complainant was sitting upstairs when he smelled smoke so he went downstairs and tried to put out one of the fires. Strom was playing with fire all day inside and outside of the residence, the complaint stated.

Strom was laughing at the complainant when he tried to extinguish the fire, and then he pushed him in the chest and swung at him two to three times. The complainant was able to avoid being hit by ducking, but was hit slightly in the chest. Strom also told the complainant he was going to kill him and put him in the ground, the complaint stated.

The complainant stated he felt threatened and feared for his life during the incident. He also stated Strom talked about bombs and fire several times that day.

Strom was charged with the fires as the Minnesota DNR issued a burning ban in multiple counties, including Crow Wing County. The burning ban prohibits any open burning or campfires.

In addition to the fire burning outside of the residence, deputies photographed what appeared to be evidence of attempts to start fires inside the residence.

Strom has at least four prior qualified domestic violence related offense convictions, three occurred within the past 10 years. Strom was convicted of misdemeanor violation of a domestic abuse no contact order on July 22; gross misdemeanor domestic assault on Oct. 27, 2020; and fourth-degree assault on April 20, 2015.

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The court found reason to examine Strom’s competency to see if he is competent to understand the court proceedings and ordered a Rule 20 for Strom to be examined. A review hearing in the matter is scheduled Oct. 20.

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