Judge John Finn set bond at $100,000 for Roy Strait Wednesday, March 5, and ordered Strait to have no contact with either his former residence or any of the other tenants from the building.
Strait will have an initial court appearance Monday, March 24. Until that time he is being held in the Portage County Jail. Wisconsin State Public Defender Sean Drury will represent Strait in court. Drury had no comment during the bond hearing.
The fire was reported on Monroe Street just before 1 a.m. Tuesday, March 4. Investigators found a can of gasoline in the stairwell at the top of the second-story entry leading into Strait’s apartment.
Strait approached the police around 3 a.m. and told them he intentionally doused his apartment in gasoline and started the fire. Fire officials said the house is destroyed.
There were residents living in the two first floor apartments who were evacuated without injury.
The American Red Cross was notified by the Stevens Point Fire Department of the fire that resulted in the displacement of the residents. Red Cross trained volunteers provided emergency assistance such as food and clothing, including seasonal garments, to the resident of one unit. The resident of a second unit is staying with friends in the area and declined assistance.
The American Red Cross offers disaster services to anyone dealing with the aftermath of fires, floods or other emergencies that turn people out of their homes.
Assistant District Attorney David Knaapen said Strait told police he started the fire because he wanted to go back to prison. He was previously in prison for a felony committed in 1998.
Strait’s public Facebook profile makes several references to mental health awareness and mental health issues.
One reason Knaapen requested the bond be set for a high amount was due to the lack of connections Strait has in town. With few or no people to keep him here, Knaapen said he was at high risk for leaving.
CAP Services, a nonprofit organization that aims to help people attain economic and emotional self-sufficiency, said on its website that individuals with mental health concerns often are left isolated and may be reluctant to seek services.
CAP Services offers the Mental Health Navigator, a program that attempts to reduce the barriers to accessing services and increase follow-through with treatment plans toward the goal of improving mental health functioning.
More information about the program can be obtained by calling Faith Edgren, the Mental Health Patient Navigator for CAP Services, at 715-343-7104 or by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.