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Man pleads no contest in connection to explosion at dry cleaning business

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Posted at 12:09 PM, Sep 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-24 13:18:38-04

SARPY COUNTY, Neb. (KMTV) - A man pleaded no contest Thursday to criminal charges related to an explosion and fire at his dry cleaning business back in October 2018.

Michael McKernan, 54, entered the plea for one count of arson in the second degree and burning to defraud insurer, both felonies.

Authorities say McKernan owned the business at 16869 Audrey Street in Sarpy County. They say he intentionally drilled holes into gas lines that led to a dryer and a furnace.

The leaking gas ignited, causing an explosion and fire that destroyed the business.

According to authorities, McKernan then tried to recover money from two insurance companies - one covering the building and the other covering the business and contents inside the building.

An investigation found that McKernan's business lost more than $100,000 in the six months it was open.

McKernan faces a maximum penalty of six years imprisonment, a $35,000 fine or both. There is no minimum penalty. He will be sentenced on December 3, 2020.

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