Posted: Jun 13, 2013 2:08 PM by Erin Schattauer
Updated: Jun 13, 2013 2:08 PM
BOZEMAN - A woman is accused setting fire to a Belgrade apartment building while a mother and child were inside one of the units.
Crystal Bachmann, 37, of Belgrade is charged with one count of arson and two counts of felony criminal endangerment. She appeared in Gallatin County Justice Court Thursday morning where Judge Rick West set her bail at $50,000.
Police responded to a structure fire at 702 Minnesota Street in Belgrade at around noon on Wednesday, June 12. When they got there, Bachmann told officers to "take her in," according to court documents. Police say she smelled strongly of gasoline.
A resident in apartment "A" told an officer that she heard a knock on her door and opened it to find Bachmann on the porch, telling her she needed to get out of the apartment. The resident told police that's when she noticed smoke coming from the upstairs apartment.
The resident said she returned to her apartment, apartment "B," to get her 3-month-old child and dog. When she got outside, she asked Bachmann why she had started the fire, and Bachmann said, "they can take me to jail," court documents state.
During a search of Bachmann's apartment, apartment "A," several burn marks were found throughout the apartment where it looked like an accelerant was splashed on the floor, court documents state. Points of origin for the fire were found near the front door, between the kitchen and living room and in the bedroom, court papers state.
Also during the search, an officer reports finding a nearly empty gas can sitting next to a lawnmower outside of the apartments. Another resident said that he was the last one to use the gas can and it was over half full when he left it by the lawnmower.
"I know, I used the wrong type of gas," Bachmann reportedly told police, according to court documents.
Bachmann is being held in the Gallatin County Detention Center. A preliminary hearing is set for July 5.