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Man charged after burning himself while allegedly setting fire to Helitech trailer

File photo of the Callaway County Courthouse.
File photo of the Callaway County Courthouse.


A St. Louis man was charged in Callaway County on Wednesday after he allegedly broke into a Helitech parking lot on Tuesday and setting fire to a trailer.

Josef Wayne Black was charged with knowingly burning or exploding, two counts of first-degree property damage and one count of first-degree trespassing, a misdemeanor. A warrant was issued on Wednesday and a court date has not been set. He was not in the jail on Wednesday afternoon.

The probable cause statement says black burned roughly 18% of his body, so deputies could not bring him to the jail. Black allegedly left the hospital “against medical advice” in order to run away, the statement says.

According to the probable cause statement, a Callaway County deputy had allegedly talked with Black at 5:10 a.m. Tuesday at mile marker 143 on Interstate 70. Deputies were then told about a fire at Helitech in the 2800 block of Route M.

A witness allegedly told law enforcement that a man – later described as Josef Black – was allegedly in a field south of their house screaming about needing an ambulance and claimed he was “bitten,” the statement says. A deputy spoke with Black, who claimed a trailer exploded.

Black allegedly told deputies that he was with a friend and was heading to Windsor, Missouri, to buy a vehicle, the statement says. Black claimed the two ran out of gas, walked on a gravel road while smoking a cigarette and then an explosion occurred. He allegedly gave different details to medical staff, the probable cause statement says.

Video from Helitech allegedly showed Black knocking on the front door and windows of the business, which was closed at the time, the statement says. He allegedly picked up gravel and threw it at multiple vehicles, broke out their windows and rummaged through them, the statement says.

Black was then allegedly seen on video going into a trailer and coming out with a 5-gallon gas tank, the statement says. He then dumped gas in and on the trailer and tried to “ignite a gasoline trail” with the lighter, but the fire didn’t start, the statement says. He then went into the trailer and the fire starts shortly after, according to court documents. Black was allegedly seen “patting down his clothing as if on fire, defecates twice on the parking lot, and gets tissue out of truck to wipe his buttocks off,” the statement says.

The probable cause statement claims that Black has active warrants in Kansas and Jasper, Missouri.

Article Topic Follows: Crime

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Ryan Shiner


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