MINNEAPOLIS — A Minneapolis man will make his first appearance in Hennepin County Court Wednesday afternoon in connection to a fire that destroyed the Lola on the Lake restaurant.

23-year-old Nouh Omar Elmi is charged with one felony count of Negligent Fires. According to the criminal complaint from the Hennepin County Attorney's Office, neighbors called 911 on May 16, 2019 to report Lola on the Lake at Bde Maka Ska was on fire.

When firefighters arrived, they noticed three trash cans next to the building. The roof above the trash cans was burned and sagging. Officials determined the blaze originated behind the three trash cans, based on the movement of the fire.

RELATED: Fire engulfs Lola on the Lake at Bde Maka Ska

Surveillance footage from Lola on the Lake and neighboring businesses show a man, identified by authorities as Elmi, and a woman sitting at a table close to the building at about 2:45 a.m. 

Elmi was seen taking out a hookah and trying to light it at about 3 a.m. Eventually Elmi dumps the hookah embers behind the trash cans, according to the complaint.

According to the Hennepin County Attorney's Office, the area was protected from the rain but not the wind. Eventually, the video showed flames at the base of a column.

A woman eventually came forward to authorities and identified herself as the woman in the surveillance footage. She also identified Elmi.

Elmi is scheduled to to appear in court at 1:30 p.m.


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