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Centerville Fire Nearly Contained, Costs Rising

Centerville Fire Nearly Contained, Costs Rising

Posted - Aug. 2, 2003 at 9:17 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A fire burning in Ford Canyon above Centerville was 90 percent contained Saturday night after consuming 500 acres since Tuesday.

The cost of fighting the blaze has risen to $977,000, said Centerville Fire spokesman Jeff Gildehaus. Four firefighters have suffered minor injuries, he said.

Full containment should come by Sunday night, Gildehaus said.

Jonathan David Ditto, 19, has been charged with reckless burning, a class A misdemeanor, for allegedly starting the blaze with two of his cousins, aged 14 and 15.

Centerville police said the three were playing with smoke bombs during a paintball game Tuesday in the foothills east of the city when one of the smoke bombs set off a fire in scrub oak. If convicted, Ditto could face up to one year in jail and a fine.

The youths tried to put out the fire before it went out of control, Centerville police Lt. Paul Child said earlier in the week.

The youths were not taken into custody, but the investigation is continuing and the teens could face federal charges because most of the land burned was Forest Service property.

Authorities indicated the families could end up liable for the cost of fighting the fire.

Ditto had been scheduled to leave on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in two weeks.

One firefighter was taken off the blaze because of dehydration and heat exhaustion. Two others had twisted ankles, and another hurt his arm, Gildehaus said.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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