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Clifton: Fire bill reverts back to resident's responsibility

A town of Clifton man thought he was off the hook for a $700 fire bill. And he was for a month. But Tuesday night, Jan. 4, the Clifton Town Board reversed last month's decision to cover the bill and said the man would have to pay it after all.

Town Board Chairman LeRoy Peterson said he checked and found the board acted improperly last month because the fire bill wasn't even on the agenda. It was brought up instead during the public comment part of the meeting.

Peterson also said the River Falls Fire Department came forward with more information about the blaze that seemed to contradict what the resident, Richard Lee, had claimed.

Lee said the March 2010 blaze started in a ditch by the road near his property, that he tried to put it out, but couldn't so he called for help.

But according to information from the fire department and Pierce County dispatcher, Lee told firefighters that the fire may have been caused by a go-cart his granddaughter was riding. Lee denied making such a statement.

Town Board Supervisor John Rohl said it's next to impossible to establish the cause of the fire. His colleagues seemed to agree, and the Clifton Town Board took no further action on the matter, meaning the fire bill is back in Lee's hands.

For more on this issue and the rest of the Clifton Town Board news, please read the Jan. 12 print edition of the River Falls Journal.