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Published: Thursday, 4/13/2006

Arsonist gets 4-year term

The fire that Harry Philabaun started in a Point Place boat storage facility last year could have escalated and caused serious injuries to firefighters and others, Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Denise Dartt said yesterday.

Philabaun, who was convicted March 7 of arson for the blaze at the River View Yacht Club, was sentenced by Judge Dartt to four years in prison, one year shy of the maximum sentence for the offense.

The fire May 5 at 6040 Edgewater Drive began in a 35-foot boat owned by Mike Cooper and spread to four nearby large boats, causing $200,000 damage.

Judge Dartt said the defendant's conduct was disturbing, in part because fuel was stored in the boats and owners were getting their watercraft ready for the boating season.

Philabaun, 30, of 6161 Summit St. did odd jobs for boat owners who stored their vessels in the yard and other yards in Point Place.

The fire remains under investigation with regard to whether the defendant's motivation was monetary and whether anyone else was involved.

An employee who worked in the storage lot told authorities that he saw Philabaun just before the fire began. Investigators said Philabaun also asked for directions to the boat where the fire began.

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