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BABBITT, Minn. - The position of fire chief is supposed to be one of public trust, but in Babbitt that trust is under fire with the federal courts. Tuesday, federal arson charges were brought up on the city's former fire chief, Ryan Scharber.
Scharber is accused of setting multiple fires in 2011 and 2012.
He resigned in December 2012 after the investigation began.
Federal prosecutors say Scharber set fires in the Superior National Forest four different times. The most recent was allegedly over a year ago on Sept. 10 2012.
The Star Tribune reported Tuesday that Schaber is also facing charges for an attempted arson at Mattila's Birch Lake Resort from December 2011. Mattila’s is closed for the season and calls were not returned for comment Tuesday.
FOX 21 talked to Scharber a year ago about the unusual spike in arson fires near Babbitt, and here's what he had to say:
"Seeing if there's anybody suspicious hanging out or if someone's showing up at the same fires over and over again,” he explained on Sept. 30, 2011.
A week after he spoke to FOX 21, the first arson-related fire occurred just outside of Babbitt.
Scharber joined the Babbitt Fire Department in August 2005. Five years ago in 2008, the city council voted him as chief of the department.
We caught up with Babbitt locals Tuesday who said (off camera) Scharber is a nice, young kid and that it's shocking to see this happen to him. They also said Scharber's family is having a difficult time dealing with the situation.
FOX 21 was unable to make contact with Scharber or his family who lives in the area.
According to the Star Tribune, he is not in custody.
There is no known court date set, as of Tuesday night.