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Minneapolis man charged in connection with Lola’s on the Lake fire

A few days after the fire, police released this photo, calling for help identifying the folks in it.

A few days after the fire, police released this photo, calling for help identifying the folks in it. Minneapolis PD

A man has been charged with negligence in the May 16 blaze at Lola's on the Lake.

According to a Wednesday release from the Hennepin County Attorney's office, 23-year-old Nouh Elmi has been charged with one count of negligent fire causing property damage of more than $2,500. If convicted, he could see up to three years and/or a fine to the tune of $5,000.

Investigators initially believed lightning may have caused the fire, but later turned up surveillance video showing two people near the pavilion at around 2:45 a.m. The complaint states that the pair approached the lakeside restaurant from the south and sat at a table, at which point Elmi took a hookah out of a bag.

He tried to light it around 3 a.m. and eventually succeeded despite wind, and dumped the embers by a trio of trash cans about 20 minutes after that—an area that was shielded from the rain, but not wind.

Elmi's first court appearance is set for July 10.