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Fargo man faces felony charge for repeatedly passing out drunk with food on stove

An arrest warrant is out for a Fargo man on reckless endangerment charges after prosecutors allege he repeatedly passed out drunk with food burning on the stove, prompting visits from firefighters.

Court documents filed Friday in Cass County District Court say Richard David Coryell also threatened to harm the Fargo firefighters if they didn't leave the second time they responded to a fire reported at his home.

On May 27, Fargo firefighters responded to a report of smoke coming out of Coryell's patio at about 1:30 p.m., court documents say.

Coryell admitted he had left a pot of food burning on the stove since the night before, and firefighters had to vent the home to clear it of smoke, documents say.

On Sept. 2, firefighters were once again called to Coryell's condo, which reeked of burnt food and had heavy black smoke billowing from the front door.

When they got inside, smoke was banked down to 3 feet above the floor, firefighters reported, and they could see burn marks and smoke patterns on the cabinet and range hood from previous fires.

Coryell told the fire crews, "If you haven't noticed, I've been drinking today," and yelled at them to get out, threatening to kill them if they didn't leave, documents say.

Firefighters nevertheless set up a positive pressure ventilation system to remove the smoke.

Coryell also said he was an alcoholic who frequently forgets about food left on the stove, and he said it might happen again, police said in court records.

His neighbors told a Fargo police officer they were terrified that Coryell, who lives at the eastern end of a row of 10 units, would burn their homes down because he repeatedly leaves food on the stove before passing out.

Coryell is charged with two counts of reckless endangerment, one as a Class C felony and another as a Class A misdemeanor, and disorderly conduct, a Class B misdemeanor.

His first court appearance has not yet been set.

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