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Man arrested for starting grass fires near apartment complex

April 18, 2011

The Wauwatosa Fire Department had to put out three grass fires after a Wauwatosa apartment dweller who missed life in the country decided to cook his dinner outside and the flames got out of hand last week, according to a police report.

Also from the report:

Emergency squads were called to the Fountain Apartments, 9617 W. Hampton Ave., at 10:56 p.m. April 12 to extinguish grass fires near the creek that runs through the property.

A 53-year-old man who lived in one of the units had started a fire in a pit. A neighbor noticed the flames had spread to the grass, so she yelled down to alert him. He got up and stomped the ground, but didn't put out the fire.

When firefighters arrives, the initial fire was still going. By that time, the man had moved down the embankment, where he was seen starting a second fire. He put dried grass on the embers and started blowing on it to make the blaze grow. As firefighters responded, he ran off.

After dousing the second fire with water, firefighters started to return to their trucks. Then they noticed a third fire with a burned cooking pot on it.

When they found the tenant, he said he had been told numerous times by apartment managers that he was not allowed to start fires on the property. However, he explained, he was used to living in the country and lit fires all the time for ambiance and to cook food.

He was extremely intoxicated and there were numerous empty beer cans surrounding his fire pit.

The man was arrested for disorderly conduct.

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