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Associated Press, Published December 04 2012

Trial scheduled for TX man accused in ND motel fire

STEELE, N.D. — A Texas man accused of burning down a North Dakota motel is scheduled to stand trial in late February.

The Bismarck Tribune reports that 51-year-old Allen Thomas has pleaded not guilty to one count of arson and 18 counts of endangering by fire. The felony charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison upon conviction.

The Houston man was staying at the Lone Steer Motel in Steele at the time of the Aug. 12 fire, which didn't hurt anyone but displaced about two dozen people.

Authorities allege that Thomas used a cigarette lighter to ignite a mattress because he was upset that the hotel owners had helped his girlfriend after the two had argued.

The trial is expected to last from Feb. 25 to March 1.

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Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.