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Fargo man sentenced for burning food on stove while drunk, prompting fire calls

FARGO - A 71-year-old man accused of twice passing out drunk with food burning on the stove pleaded guilty Tuesday to a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment.

FARGO – A 71-year-old man accused of twice passing out drunk with food burning on the stove pleaded guilty Tuesday to a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment.

Cass County District Judge Douglas Herman ordered the man, Richard David Coryell of Fargo, to undergo a chemical dependency evaluation and spend a year on unsupervised probation.

The judge also gave Coryell credit for having already served 57 days in jail.

Along with Coryell's guilty plea, a felony charge of reckless endangerment and a misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct were dismissed.

On May 27 and Sept. 2, firefighters were dispatched to Coryell's condo because food burning on the stove was creating heavy smoke, court papers stated.


On the second visit, Coryell told firefighters, "If you haven't noticed, I've been drinking today," and threatened to kill them if they didn't leave, court papers said. Despite the threat, firefighters cleared the smoke from his home.

Coryell acknowledged he was an alcoholic who frequently forgot about food on the stove, court papers said. Neighbors told police they feared Coryell, whose condo sits at the end of a row of 10 units, would burn their homes down.

Related Topics: FIRES
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