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An Albert Lea man threw a mix of chemicals on his girlfriend then set her on fire with a butane torch during an argument, according to criminal charges filed this week.

Logan M. Netzer, 40, is charged with first-degree assault in connection with the Dec. 22 incident, which left the victim with burns on 12% of her body. The charges say she had to be airlifted to a burn unit in the Twin Cities for treatment.

The argument, the criminal complaint alleges, started when Netzer used another woman's name to refer to the victim. During the confrontation, Netzer took out a mixture of chemicals he'd mixed the night before — paint thinner, acetone and styrofoam, a witness said — and threw it at the victim, the complaint says. 

He then took out a butane torch and lit the woman on fire, authorities allege.

The woman's pants were on fire, so she rolled on the ground, but ultimately had to take them off, according to the charges. In addition to less-serious burns all over her body, the woman suffered third-degree burns and skin loss on her hands, the charges state. 

The blaze spread to the house, which was determined to be a total loss.

Netzer told officers the fire started when the woman, with propane tanks and torches nearby, attempted to light something she wanted to smoke, according to the charges. But investigators, in the complaint, noted her clothing and his clothing smelled of accelerant or chemicals and that he hadn't suffered any burn injuries, while also referring to his account as "disconnected."

A search of the property turned up a jar with a cloudy liquid inside, tucked inside a backpack, as well as an empty paint thinner container, broken Styrofoam and acetone.

A witness also told investigators the two fought the prior night, when Netzer said he wanted to spend time with his wife, the charges state.

Netzer was arrested and booked into Freeborn County Jail. His first court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 30, 2021, at 1:30 p.m.

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