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Cottonwood Heights man charged with starting July 4th fireworks-related grass fire

A 49-year-old Cottonwood Heights man was charged Monday with starting a July 4th grass fire that damaged a nearby home by setting off aerial fireworks at his own home.

Richard C. Otterstrom was charged in 3rd District Court with one count of reckless burning, a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.

An arraignment hearing is set for Aug. 10.

Following the fire, investigators found several spent fireworks in the gutter in front of Otterstrom's home, near 3400 E. Enchanted Hills Drive, as well as unused fireworks hidden behind a garden planter, according to charges.

Otterstrom later admitted to police he set off aerial fireworks at his home, but stopped when he realized a field near his home was on fire, charges state.

"Otterstrom did not call 911," the charges add.

Winds caused the fire to rapidly burn about 25 acres in a residential area and caused more than $1,500 to the field behind Mountain View Memorial Cemetery, fences, a play area, a shed, and the home near 3400 E. Bradbury Road, charges state.

The fireworks were set off in an area where their use was restricted, according to a news release from the Salt Lake County District Attorney.

shunt@sltrib.com

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