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Sun., Oct. 4
Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
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Watertown wins $72,000 judgment on cleanup of High Street fire


The city of Watertown has won a $72,926.94 judgment against a local property owner who failed to pay the cleanup costs on a High Street apartment building destroyed by fire in May 2012.

On Nov. 18, state Supreme Court Justice James P. McClusky awarded the default judgment against Ricky E. Frazier, Glen Park, owner of 239 High St., the location of a fire May 15, 2012, in which a Watertown man tried to kill his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend by setting fire to the eight-apartment structure.

The city’s Code Enforcement Office condemned the insured, burned-out apartment building and ordered Mr. Frazier to demolish it. When he failed to do so, the city filed court documents that claimed he owed $70,000 for the cleanup at the site.

With the help of a contractor, city workers tore down the building’s remains in August 2012 and hauled away the debris. The city claimed that its cost for the cleanup was $70,432.

Last week, Mr. Frazier approached Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham about the judgment and how he should pay it. The mayor suggested he get an attorney to arrange to pay it, but Mr. Frazier told the mayor he could not find a lawyer to take his case.

Last November, Joshua D. Metzler pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree attempted murder and single counts of second-degree arson, first-degree reckless endangerment and second-degree assault, and was sentenced to 14 years in state prison.

As part of his sentence, he was ordered to pay $100,000 in the form of a civil judgment to the company that insured the building on behalf of Mr. Frazier.

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