FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4/AP) – A northern Colorado man who started a wildfire that burned two houses and scorched 740 acres this fall has been sentenced to 150 hours of community service and $500 monthly restitution.
Joel Ledermann wasn’t sentenced to any jail time Tuesday. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor arson earlier this month for the fire in the foothills west of Loveland.
He could have faced up to six years in jail.
Authorities say the fire started in September when Ledermann was burning brush on his property. They say he didn’t have a permit and didn’t take precautions.
“On a calm morning I made a bad decision to light a fire. I did not intend the result that occurred,” Ledermann told the judge.
The fire erupted as crews were wrapping up at a nearly 10-square-mile blaze near Boulder that destroyed at least 166 homes.
“I know this is not an intentional act, but it was an act that had dire consequences for the community in which he lives,” the judge said.
Fire victim Carol Christensen says there’s plenty of work for Ledermann in the fire area removing burned trees and helping restore the mountain. Christensen says she’s glad he won’t have to serve jail time.
“I hugged him in there and I hugged his wife and my heart goes out to him. But it was negligence on his part that caused a lot of heartache,” Christensen said.
The prosecutor said in this case “we have a man who had a momentous lapse in judgment.”
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