Man accused of starting Washington Courts fire pleads guilty

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BISMARCK, N.D. - A Bismarck man accused of starting a fire at Washington Courts in Bismarck pleaded guilty and was sentenced Friday.

Forty-five-year-old Eduardo Rodriguez told police he started the fire accidentally with a cigarette in June.

But, detectives say they found lighter fluid and a butane lighter inside Rodriguez's backpack.

It displaced more than a dozen people from their apartments.

Rodriguez pleaded guilty on Friday to a lesser charge of wreckless endangerment.

He was originally charged with arson.

Rodriguez was given a three year suspended sentence, 254 days of time served and will be on probation for 18 months.