Former firefighter gets jail for arson
NEW ULM, Minn. -- A former New Ulm firefighter was sentenced Friday to six months in jail for starting a string of fires here.
Gary R. Negron, 40, also was ordered to pay a $3,000 fine and about $15,000 in restitution to New Ulm Telecom, his former employer and the company that owned the property he set on fire.
Judge Allison Baskfield handed down the sentence in Brown County District Court.
Negron was charged April 23 with starting four fires between Jan. 14, 2002, and Sept. 19, 2002. The first fire, at a warehouse, caused about $500,000 in damage. Three smaller fires were started in a Telecom truck, a wooden cable spool and a trash bin behind a restaurant.
Investigators suspected Negron of starting the fires after a surveillance tape showed him starting the fire outside the restaurant Sept. 19, 2002. He was suspended from the fire department in September 2002.
On Aug. 21, he pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree arson and one count of third-degree arson. In exchange, a first-degree arson charge for the fire at New Ulm Telecom's warehouse was dismissed.