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Man sentenced to 11 years for arson that damaged 14 homes

May 11, 2022 GMT

MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon man charged with setting an arson fire in the southwest part of the state that damaged more than a dozen properties has been sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Michael Bakkela, 43, was sentenced this week after pleading no contest to first-degree arson, 15 charges of criminal mischief, and two charges of animal abuse for the deaths of two animals, KTVL reported.

Bakkela changed his pleas last week.

Court documents say Bakkela, of Salem, Oregon, started a fire behind a home in Phoenix on Sept. 8 as strong, dry winds pummeled the state.

He was not charged with starting a much larger fire in Ashland, Oregon, which started the same day.

The fire started by Bakkela destroyed and/or damaged Rogue Soil, Northwest Hemp Growers Industrial Hemp Farm, and fourteen houses. The fire also killed several animals in the vicinity, including a sheep.