Man sentenced to public service over Crystal Fire

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) — A man who pleaded guilty to starting a fire that destroyed 13 homes and structures west of Loveland has been sentenced to 1,500 hours of community service.

The Loveland Reporter-Herald reports (http://bit.ly/zHfpEv ) 37-year-old Thomas Howie also was sentenced Friday to six years of probation and 60 days in jail on work release. The Coloradoan reports (http://noconow.co/ysMD2M ) prosecutors will seek restitution later.

Some victims had asked the judge to require public service rather than prison time.

The fire last April started on property owned by Howie's father and three football players. Howie has said he was burning a slash pile before winds pushed the flames. County records show he didn't have a burn permit.

A civil lawsuit filed by some victims against Howie and the property owners is pending.

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