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Firefighter Who Set Blazes Given 5 Years

April 10, 2003

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ A firefighter who admitted setting five fires, including one that destroyed two homes, has been sentenced to 11 years in prison and ordered to pay nearly $2 million in restitution.

Jonathan Patrick Klausen, 20, was sentenced Wednesday on charges of felony arson and setting fire in a grassy area, a misdemeanor.

Klausen set the fires Aug. 27 in the mountain town of Julian, about 40 miles northeast of San Diego. Besides the two homes, the fires burned 280 acres and five outbuildings.

He pleaded guilty in February and had faced a maximum prison sentence of more than 17 years.

``He said he doesn’t know why he did it, and he was sorry,″ prosecutor Glenn McAllister said. ``In my view he got a just sentence. You’re never going to make up for what these folks have lost.″

About $1.6 million in restitution was designated for fire victims, and $330,000 to the state to cover the firefighting costs.

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