Man in custody after leaving hot saw on generator that allegedly sparked Jacob City Fire

Jul 12, 2022, 6:29 PM | Updated: Jul 13, 2022, 5:31 am
Utah Fire Info provided this aerial view of the Jacob City fire....
Utah Fire Info provided this aerial view of the Jacob City fire.

STOCKTON, Utah — A man is in custody after he allegedly left a hot saw on an RV generator next to a gas can, sparking what has become the Jacob City Fire.

Gary Carr was arrested by the Stockton Police Department Tuesday for reckless burning and reckless endangerment.

Carr called 911 on July 9, around 2:28 p.m. and reported his generator had caught fire that had quickly spread to surrounding trees.

The fire grew quickly, becoming the Jacob City Fire, which has burned over 4,000 acres.

Jacob Fire grows but better weather conditions to improve on Utah Sunday

As investigators responded to the scene, they noticed the burn patterns and other evidence did not line up with Carr’s initial statements.

Police secured a search warrant for the trailer and generator and interviewed witnesses and firefighters that were first on scene.

On Tuesday, Stockton police and Bureau of Land Management fire investigators interviewed Carr. In the interview, he admitted that on July 9, he had used a circular saw plugged into his refurbished generator.

The saw cord had been cut and taped back together. Carr explained that during use, the saw became extremely hot, so he set it down on the back of the RV which was next to a sealed gas can.

The investigators reported the outside temperature at that time was around 103 degrees.

Carr then plugged the RV into the generator and went inside.

About 10 minutes later, Carr said he heard a pop followed by hissing noises — at which point he ran outside to find the top of the generator on fire, as well as nearby trees.

Attempting to extinguish the fire, Carr put water on the generator. However, the gas from the exploded can only accelerated the fire.

Carr then attempted to dig the fire out and “in his haste tossed burning sage and embers under the RV where another full 5-gallon gas can was located. The spreading of burning embers, and the now heated gas can, caused the RV to also catch fire. Carr then called 911.”

Carr was arrested and charged and booked into the Tooele County Jail.

Arresting documents say damages from the fire are around $3 million.

One neighbor told KSL TV that his property was signed by the fire and isn’t happy that a careless mistake caused all of this damage.

“It hurts us. I mean, it was traumatic and caused us three days of constant work,” said Tooele County resident Myron Burnett. “And not to mention the constant flow of helicopters and airplanes and manpower that have been up and down these hills. All because of one careless act.”

Stockton police explained in a Facebook post that “negligence does not release a party from responsibility and consequences of an incident that occurs due to his/her actions. Members of the public need to be aware of current conditions while recreating on public lands.”

Here are some special precautions they advised should be taken to prevent wildfires from occurring:

1. Be mindful in general when recreating outdoors, especially during fire season.
2. Use caution when operating equipment that can create heat or sparks. When using equipment outdoors, have on hand fire extinguishers, adequate water, and hand tools. These activities should be avoided during peak heat hours.
3. Check equipment for faulty wiring or damage before use, as this has potential to short-circuit.
4. Do not place recently used tools or equipment next to fuel sources or dry vegetation. The heat from the equipment can easily combust, becoming an accelerant.
5. Keep fuel stored in a shaded area, away from any potential ignition sources or equipment.
6. If a fuel fire occurs, adding water will accelerate the fire.
7. Extra precaution should be taken when recreating during extreme temperatures, high wind events, and low relative humidity. This is even more important on Red Flag Warning days.

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Man in custody after leaving hot saw on generator that allegedly sparked Jacob City Fire