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Garbage fire leads to damage, restitution

Edward Wynn Jay of New York Mills was convicted in connection with an illegal fire that spread and destroyed trees on a neighbor’s property in Newton Township, in the New York Mills area.

Jay appeared in Otter Tail County District Court on Feb. 26 and accepted a plea agreement of 30 days in the county jail, stayed for one year. He will pay restitution totaling $1,915.

The neighbor whose trees were destroyed will receive $840. Payment to the New York Mills Fire Department will be $675, and $400 will go to the Department of Natural Resources’ Forestry Division.

An investigation determined that Jay began an illegal burn of household garbage on Nov. 19, 2012. He then left the property without ensuring that the fire was extinguished. Later in the day, the unattended fire escaped into adjacent fields.

The neighbor who lost trees to the fire said he planted the white spruce between 10 and 15 years ago.