Baraboo man charged with trying to blow up Juneau County bar

Heath Fjorden ran Beagle’s Bar and Grill and was in the process of buying it
Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 1:08 PM CDT
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LYNDON STATION, Wis. (WMTV) -A Baraboo man is facing multiple charges after authorities say he tried to blow up a bar and restaurant he was running and in the process of buying in Juneau County.

Heath Fjorden, 43, is charged with arson of a building with intent to defraud, two counts of damage of property by use of explosives, and two counts of first degree recklessly endangering safety.

Beagle's Bar and Grill is a popular spot in Lyndon Station
Beagle's Bar and Grill is a popular spot in Lyndon Station(Tim Elliott)

Authorities allege that around 1:30 a.m. on September 1, Fjorden set off an explosion in the basement of Beagle’s Bar and Grill in Lyndon Station.

According to the criminal complaint, authorities found evidence of arson including two gas cans in the basement of the bar as well as rags soaked with gasoline. Investigators say they also found bloody handprints that appeared to have been left by the arsonist. They also found a wig they believe could have been used to disguise the person responsible for the explosion.

“I went to bed at 11 and I woke up around 1 and I heard a ‘bang’ and I thought it was just my cats knocking something over and I get out and there’s smoke everywhere,” said James Ervin.

Ervin was one of two people who live in the apartments connected to the bar. “I got out of there pretty quick and called 911,” he said. Ervin says he woke up his neighbor and both got out of the building safely.

James Ervin was asleep in his apartment, which is connected to the bar, and the explosion woke...
James Ervin was asleep in his apartment, which is connected to the bar, and the explosion woke him up(Tim Elliott)

According to the criminal complaint, employees at the bar were concerned that Fjorden may do something to the bar. The complaint alleges on August 31, the day before the explosion, fire chief Troy Madland contacted police chief Jeremy Bonikowske. Chief Madland said he received a complaint about the possibility of Fjorden “burning the building down.”

The criminal complaint says authorities found Fjorden around 4 p.m. on September 1 in Germantown Township. He had suffered considerable burns to his hands, arms, back, legs, and face. The burns on his hand and arms appeared to be the worst as he had “skin falling off”.

Fjorden denied being involved in the explosion and told authorities his injuries came from a grill fire at his home, according to the complaint.

Fjorden is still in the hospital being treated for his injuries.

Beagle’s is closed until further notice.