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Ex-employee accused of starting fire at Boulder Tap House in Moorhead

A criminal complaint said Chad Peterson, of Dilworth, threatened to burn the restaurant down before he allegedly broke several windows and started laundry on fire in the back area of the tap house.

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A man from Dilworth, Minnesota, faces criminal charges after managers alleged he started a fire at the Boulder Tap House at 3333 US-10 Frontage Road in Moorhead.
David Samson/The Forum
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MOORHEAD — A Dilworth man is facing criminal charges after management alleged he started a fire at a Moorhead restaurant where he worked.

Chad Mitchell Peterson, 43, appeared Wednesday, Sept. 28, in Clay County District Court on felony charges of first-degree property damage and second-degree arson. He was in custody at the Clay County Jail on Wednesday afternoon.

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Chad Peterson
Clay County Jail

The charges stem from a Tuesday morning report of a fire at Boulder Tap House at the corner of U.S. Highway 10 and 34th Street South, just east of Target, Moorhead Police Capt. Deric Swenson said. Around 8 a.m. Tuesday, an employee discovered several broken windows at the restaurant and remnants of a fire on a pile of laundry, a criminal complaint said.

It’s unclear exactly when the fire was lit. The restaurant that features a lengthy list of beer and pub food typically closes at 10 p.m. on Sundays and doesn’t reopen until 11 a.m. on Tuesdays.

Laundry bags were still smoldering when police arrived, and a criminal complaint said the arson was allegedly committed on or about Tuesday.

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No one was injured in the blaze, Swenson said. It was contained to the back area of the restaurant, general manager Jodie Norton told The Forum. The fire closed the restaurant Tuesday, but the restaurant reopened Wednesday, Norton said.

The fire only burned a door to the building, the complaint said. Damages to the windows and from the fire are expected to cost at least $1,000, the complaint said.

Management told police they believed Peterson caused the fire, the complaint said. The restaurant called him a disgruntled ex-employee, according to the complaint. He made harassing and threatening phone calls to the Boulder Tap House, including one where he threatened to burn the restaurant down, the complaint alleged.

An unrelated call to dispatchers placed Peterson in the area of the restaurant the evening before the fire was discovered, the complaint said.

Peterson told law enforcement he broke the restaurant windows but denied any involvement in the arson, the complaint claimed.

His attorney, Michael Minard, did not return a message left by The Forum.

April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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