Maryland Man Ordered to Pay Restitution in Fire

September 14, 2009

A Maryland man has entered an Alford plea in connection with a fire at his home last year.

Fifty-one-year-old Bruce B. Opel entered the plea to a charge of reckless endangerment Wednesday in Allegany County Circuit Court. With an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges that sufficient evidence exists that could result in a conviction.

Judge Gary G. Leasure suspended a five-year sentence and ordered Opel to pay $4,786 in restitution to the volunteer fire companies that battled the blaze in April 2008.

Fire investigators found that construction debris in the living room had been intentionally set on fire.

The Office of the Attorney General said Opel claimed the fire was accidental.

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