Suspect Denies Igniting Alaskan Marina Fire

JUNEAU (AP) -- A man accused of starting a marina fire last month said he has no motive for the crime and did not commit it.

Rickey Gottardi, 45, remains at Lemon Creek Correction Center, charged with arson, criminal mischief and a misdemeanor charge of oil polluting. Bail was set at $50,000.

The fire was tied to a 1,600-gallon fuel spill in Auke Bay.

Gottardi told the Juneau Empire other people have reasons to accuse him of cutting fuel lines at the marina and lighting the fuel with a blowtorch in the early hours of Sept. 21.

He said it could be related to the murder of his brother six years ago. He said he has been ``stepping on toes'' trying to learn who killed his brother.

``I never had anything to do with this,'' Gottardi said of the marina fire and fuel spill.

Damage from the fire was estimated at $12,000. The cost to clean up after the fire was estimated at $50,000, according to court records.

Juneau Superior Court Judge Patricia Collins last week scheduled Gottardi's trial for Jan. 3 before Judge Larry Weeks. Gottardi has pleaded innocent.

He said his arrest at about 4 p.m. Sept. 21, about 12 hours after the fire was reported, ``hit me by total surprise.''