Man ordered to pay an additional $11.9 million for starting Catalina Island fire

A contract worker who is accused of accidentally starting a fire on Catalina Island off the coast of Los Angeles has been ordered by a court to pay an additonal $11.9 million in restitution. At an earlier hearing he had been ordered to pay $4 million.

Gary Dennis Hunt was a subcontractor doing some work on a radio tower on the island on May10, 2007 when his cutting torch started a few small fires that he put out. The next day, in spite of extreme fire danger warnings and a prohibition against the use of open flames, he continued to use the torch and started a fire which burned 4,000 acres and caused $20 million in damages to several structures.

Mr. Hunt’s employer is expected to pay the bulk of the restitution through their insurance company.

Here is a video that summarizes the latest developments.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.