Three men ordered to pay $9 million restitution for Colby Fire

Steven Aguirre, Clifford Eugene Henry Jr and Jonathan Carl Jarrell
Steven Aguirre, Clifford Eugene Henry Jr., and Jonathan Carl Jarrell. Glendora PD booking photos.

On Monday a judge ordered three men convicted of starting the Colby Fire to pay $9 million in restitution to public agencies, insurance companies and residents. An illegal campfire used by the men escaped in January, 2014 and burned 1,900 acres, destroying five homes and 17 other structures, while forcing evacuations in Azusa and Glendora in southern California.

Messrs. Henry and Aguirre were sentenced to several months in prison. Mr. Jarrell awaits sentencing.

Residents near the Colby fire are under a flash flood watch on Tuesday with very heavy rains in the weather forecast.

CL 415 on Colby Fire
A CL-415 assists firefighters on the Colby Fire in January. Photo by Jeff Zimmerman.

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. Google+

12 thoughts on “Three men ordered to pay $9 million restitution for Colby Fire”

  1. Their wages can be garnished. Whether the full amount is ever collected, though, is not as important as for once a court rendering an appropriate punishment to wildland arsonists.

  2. Since the amount of restitution would obviously not get paid back in three lifetimes, wouldn’t a prison sentence be the reasonable option? Unless of course it was deemed cruel and unusual punishment?

  3. What I should have added was….several months in prison was not enough of a punishment. It should be several years in prison. The judicial system is far too lenient in cases like this as far as I’m concerned.

    1. It appears that these 3 men were DUMB, but not criminal. If years in prison is the standard for doing dumb things, half of the US population would be behind bars and those of us who have not yet been caught doing dumb things would be paying the costs. Better than prison, how about lots of community service time, maybe clearing fuel breaks by hand?

      1. Emmett,
        Good point. Community service would indeed be the solution I agree. My passion for harsh sentences should be tempered I know…after all like you said, half the population would be jailed if prison would be thrust upon them for doing stupid things. I believe that should include Congress as well….

        1. Brian – a minor disagreement: half of the US population is likely dumb. We should be so lucky if our Congress hit those percentages; I’m afraid that the “dumbness factor” under the Capital Dome is much higher, as demonstrated by their performance over the past one or two decades.

  4. Reality Check!! From the Los Angeles Times Dec. 1st: “Both Jarell and Aguirre have been described as transients. Johns ( Assistant U.S. Atty. Joseph O. Johns) acknowledged it will be difficult to recoup the full $9.1 million but said the government would “do its best over the coming years.” I wonder what Planet Johns is from?

    At least this next guy lives in the real world. Whittier Daily News Dec.1st: ” However, Glendora Police Chief Tim Staab was less optimistic about seeing any funds from Monday’s order. I think the restitution was at the rate of $25 a month,” Staab said. “So Glendora residents are going to be standing in line a long time before they finally see any restitution as a result of the felony fire damages.”

    So.. the moral of the story… The convicted need to pay $25.00 a month until its paid in full! Are you kidding? One has already been released from jail and the other gets out December 31st! I wonder what it cost the taxpayer’s to convict these bad guys? Oh.. that price is included in the $25.00 a month.

    Community Service? NONE!

  5. Recouping the 9.1 and the Gov do its best over the coming years…

    With that thought …..where is alllll that dinero recouped from all the other fires caused by these characters not to mention the RX fires that have gone awry…

    With that thought we sure could have had some money left over for HZD Fuels Reduction projects and probably a few shekels left over to do one helluva forest restoration project…

    Recouping……with folks with little or no means of paying it back……

    Well…….one surely gets the idea that once again talk is cheap and no matter what these guys will be out shortly……maybe they could collect the 9.1for the court system…

    We all know that “dumber stuff” has been done and maybe Johns could head up this little operation to ensure ” the government does its best over the coming years!”

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