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Man who admitted starting Cohoes fire sentenced

Man who admitted starting Cohoes fire sentenced

Man who admitted starting Cohoes fire sentenced
John Gomes (Inset), Cohoes fire damage (background)
Photographer: Albany County District Attorney (inset), Peter R. Barber (background)

ALBANY - The man who admitted to recklessly touching off the November fire that consumed parts of downtown Cohoes was sentenced Tuesday to a year in jail, Albany County District Attorney's officials said.

John Gomes, 51,, of Cohoes, pleaded guilty in March to one count of fourth-degree arson, a felony. 

He admitted then to starting a fire in a burn barrel behind his building Nov. 30 as winds topped 30 mph. The winds carried the flames to nearby 228 Remsen St. and the blaze quickly spread to other buildings in the area.

By the time the fire had been extinguished, an estimated 20 buildings had been damaged or destroyed. The Cohoes mayor called it a "complete disaster." No serious injuries were reported.

Gomes told investigators he was trying to mimic a television show called "Forged in Fire," by using the blaze to bend metal to make a weapon.

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