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The owner of the Press Bar and Parlor in St. Cloud has been sentenced to almost six years in prison and ordered to repay $3.1 million following the fire that destroyed the business in February 2020.

Andrew Welsh, 43, of St. Joseph, was sentenced to 71 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release after previously pleading guilty to one count of arson.

A blaze destroyed the St. Cloud bar in the early hours of Feb. 17, with Welsh later applying for a $1.43 million payout from his insurance company in a claim he filed afterwards.

A further investigation determined that the fire had been started using gasoline in the basement of the bar.

Welsh was the last person to leave the bar at 2:11 a.m. on Feb. 17. Eighteen minutes later, at 2:29 a.m., city surveillance showed smoke coming from the establishment. Six minutes later the smoke coming from the building was significant, and four minutes after that the fire alarms inside the neighboring Cowboy Jacks were going off. 

Charging documents reveal that Welsh and his former wife bought the Press Bar in 2016 for around $850,000, having still owed approximately $550,000 on the Contract for Deed.

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