STEELE, N.D. (AP) — A Texas man has pleaded not guilty to burning down a motel in North Dakota and putting people’s lives in danger.

Fifty-one-year-old Allen Thomas is charged with one count of arson and 18 counts of endangering by fire. All of the felony charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison upon conviction.

The Houston man was staying at the Lone Steer Motel in Steele at the time of the Aug. 12 fire, which didn’t hurt anyone but displaced about two dozen people. Authorities allege that Thomas used a cigarette lighter to ignite a mattress because he was upset that the hotel owners had helped his girlfriend after the two had argued.

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