COHOES, N.Y. (AP) — Officials say an inferno that destroyed or damaged nearly two dozen buildings in a city in upstate New York was sparked by an amateur bladesmith.

The blaze broke out Thursday in downtown Cohoes, near Albany, and was hampered by winds.

The Times Union of Albany reports three buildings were destroyed and 18 others were damaged. The city is under a state of emergency.

John Gomes was charged with felony reckless endangerment and misdemeanor arson. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Thursday night.

Officials say Gomes started a barrel fire in his backyard that quickly spread. They say he apparently was trying to bend metal in an attempt to imitate the History Channel TV series "Forged in Fire," which is about bladesmiths competing to create "history's most iconic edged weapons."


Information from: Times Union,

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