Man arrested in connection to La Crosse storage unit fire

Town of Shelby police arrested a 71-year-old man for negligent handling of burning materials after a fire at the Edwards Storage units.

Heavy smoke and fire were reported coming from 2806 28th Street South at about 11 a.m. on June 2. Crews contained the fire to one building, but multiple storage units were destroyed.

David J. Christel told police he did not intentionally set the fire. Christel said he needed to get into his rented storage unit but had lost his key, so he used a saw and a bolt cutter to try to remove the lock, but when that didn’t work he used a blow torch.

A witness turned over to police cellphone videos he took that showed an older man retreating from the scene of the fire.

Edwards storage indicated to police that Christel was current on his rental payments and was not locked out by the company.

Town of Shelby police arrested Christel for negligent handling of burning materials. Charges of damage to property were forwarded to the La Crosse County district attorney’s office for review.