Worker won’t have to pay wildfire restitution

Worker won’t have to pay wildfire restitution

16 January 2009

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USA — The pipe grinder who accidentally started the 240,000-acre Zaca wildfire in Santa Barbara County won’t be forced to pay restitution to injured firefighters and others.

Jose Jesus Cabrera was grinding metal to repair a broken water pipeline when a spark started the blaze in July 2007. More than 40 people were injured during the fire fight.

Superior Court Judge Zel Canter ruled in Santa Maria this week that Cabrera won’t have to pay restitution.

Rancho La Laguna LLC, Cabrera and another ranch worker were originally charged with felony counts in connection with the fire, but those charges were dismissed in October.

Cabrera pleaded no contest to misdemeanor negligently setting a fire and he was fined $200 and placed on three years’ probation.

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