A former volunteer firefighter accused of igniting fires was sentenced to a total of two years in jail for setting fires in Sonoma and San Mateo counties (CA), reports The San Francisco Chronicle.
Nathaniel Ridgway Schmidt, 20, of Cazadero was sentenced in San Mateo County Superior Court to a year in jail and five years of probation, a day after he received an identical sentence in Sonoma County.
In the San Mateo County case, Schmidt was hired to help with a July 11, 2011, controlled burn near the San Andreas Dam west of Interstate 280. A supervisor told Schmidt to walk the fire line to look for “hot spots,” said District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.
A half-hour later, Schmidt yelled that the fire was out of control, but investigators determined he had set a new quarter-acre fire, Wagstaffe said. He said authorities believe Schmidt, who has no prior criminal record, set the fires “for excitement.”
Schmidt pleaded no contest in May to a felony count of arson.
The San Mateo County fire happened eight days after the first two of four fires allegedly set by Schmidt in Sonoma County, where he was a volunteer firefighter with the Timber Cove Fire Protection District.
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