By Shereen Siewert

The man suspected of intentionally starting a fire at Merrill-area home has been identified as 40-year-old Aaron Baumann, of Merrill.

Baumann is suspected of starting a fire at a home northeast of Merrill at about 5 a.m. Thursday. Homeowners awoke to the smell of smoke and discovered the exterior wall of their home was on fire. Additional small fires were started in the yard surrounding the home, officials said.

While the homeowners were trying to put out the fire, they saw man attempting to start a blaze in their pickup. The man then ran away but was tracked with a K9 officer.

Baumann appeared in Lincoln County Circuit Court Friday, where he faces charges including arson, first-degree recklessly endangering safety, first-degree reckless injury and attempted arson. A judge ordered him held on a $100,000 cash bond.

A motive for the crime is still unclear.

Baumann has a status conference in the case on Sept. 30.