Jul. 19—FELTS MILLS — A property owner has been charged with a misdemeanor after burning his own house down Sunday night.
According to the Jefferson County Fire and Emergency Management Office, the Felts Mills fire department responded to reports of a fire on Lester Road at about 10:45 p.m. Sunday.
According to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, when fire crews arrived they found the homeowner, who lives across the street, attempting to control the flames with a garden hose. Jefferson County property tax records show the owner is Brent M. Phelps.
According to Detective Ben Timerman with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, the house was unlivable and Mr. Phelps contended the house was impossible to save. Nobody lived inside the house at the time.
The house itself was completely destroyed in the fire, which spread to nearby overhead electrical cables and cut power to nearby homes. At noon Monday, all that remained at the site was a pile of charred debris and the stone walls of the basement. Smoke still rose slowly from a hotspot near the center of where the two-story, four-bedroom home once stood.
Detective Timerman said sheriff's deputies did not charge Mr. Phelps with any crime, as National Grid officials declined to press charges for the damaged power lines or equipment that remained in the burned home. A Department of Environmental Conservation officer responded and issued Mr. Phelps a ticket for unlawful open burning, which is a misdemeanor.
The state's laws on open burning specifically bars intentionally burning trash, which includes building materials.