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East Grand Forks man sentenced for meth and endangerment charges in Nov. fire

Derik Ostlund

An East Grand Forks man was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison and 10 years of supervised probation in connection with a November fire that destroyed a Grand Forks duplex.

Derik Ostlund, 20, had pleaded guilty to making methamphetamine and reckless endangerment. Charges of theft and drug paraphernalia possession were dropped in accordance with a plea agreement.

Ostlund and his girlfriend, Candy Reed, 33, were accused of cooking and smoking meth in an apartment in the duplex at 909 N. Third St. A cigarette apparently ignited chemicals involved in making the meth, starting the blaze that gutted the building Nov. 15, authorities said. No one was seriously injured, but nine people were left without homes, including four adults who lived upstairs.

"You're lucky you're not facing murder charges," state District Court Judge Sonja Clapp told Ostlund. "The fire could have killed those people living upstairs. You've affected many, many lives by your actions."

"Instead of being sentenced for what could have happened, Mr. Ostlund is being sentenced for conduct that actually occurred," prosecutor Thomas Falck said. "We could have easily made the argument for a five- to 10-year sentence."

Ostlund agreed to turn himself in to the Grand Forks County jail Wednesday evening. He also was ordered to complete a drug and alcohol evaluation.

Reed was sentenced in April to four years in prison and four years supervised probation.

Roxanne Halvorson, Ostlund's aunt who lived at the duplex with her children, also has pleaded guilty and is set to be sentenced June 16.