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Potsdam resident ticketed for burning abandoned house

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POTSDAM — A 92-year-old Potsdam man said that after several failed attempts to get help from firefighters, he decided to take matters into his own hands.

Donald R. Jackman, 420 Route 11B, set an abandoned house on fire.

Potsdam Fire Department’s 3rd Assistant Fire Chief John Keleher said Mr. Jackman was not happy when firefighters tried to put out the fire, but with a burn ban in effect until May 15, Mr. Jackman will face a fine for violating the ban.

“Hell, it’s my land,” he said. “It seemed like a good idea to take advantage of 3 inches of snow.”

Despite firefighters’ attempts, “enough of it burned, I can get it out of there,” said Mr. Jackman, who now plans to bulldoze what remains of the structure. “I want to make the place look better.”

Potsdam 3rd Assistant Fire Chief John A. Keleher said the building was not insured and has no value.

Firefighters from Potsdam and West Stockholm responded to the call at 10:28 a.m. Favorable winds blew the smoke and fire away from Mr. Jackman’s machine shop. No injuries were reported from the incident.

“I’m hoping this is just a small fine, but we’ll see,” Mr. Jackman said.

He said sheriff’s deputies also seized five guns, valued at about $2,000, from his property. Mr. Jackman said the deputies didn’t believe he was allowed to own guns.

In July 2010, as part of a plea deal with prosecutors, Mr. Jackman was ordered to no longer possess firearms. He was charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon and a Canton judge adjourned the case in contemplation of dismissal.

Times photographer Jason Hunter contributed to this report.

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