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Man arrested for starting fire

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Albany/HV: Man arrested for starting fire
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Police have made an arrest in connection to this weekend's fire that destroyed dozens of buildings and about 50 acres of land. Elaina Athans has more.

ULSTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Police say the man arrested for starting the fire that ripped through 50 acres of land in the Town of Wawarsing was in the process of purchasing some of the property.

Lance Muckenhaupt of New Hyde Park has been charged with two felony counts of arson. The fire broke out Saturday when police say Muckenhaupt was burning brush, even though there is a ban on all open burning until the middle of May.

The Ulster County Sheriff's office says Muckenhapt couldn't keep the fire contained. It then spread to numerous buildings and destroyed both the old Tamarack property, as well as structures on adjacent properties

Police say he Muckenhapt the initial 911 call and then just left the area.

"He did not cooperate with the request of the police nor of the fire personnel on the scene to return to the scene so we could talk with him about what happened prior to his departure. Nor did he make any attempt to return for 48 hours," said Ulster County Undersheriff Frank Faluotico.

Muckenhaupt is currently in Ulster County Jail and is due in court on Friday. Police say more charges are likely.

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