Charges dropped against man who allegedly started Jacob City Fire

Nov 28, 2022, 5:20 PM | Updated: May 21, 2023, 4:38 pm

FILE: Crews drop fire retardant on the Jacob City Fire on July 9. (UWCNF)...

FILE: Crews drop fire retardant on the Jacob City Fire on July 9. (UWCNF)


TOOELE COUNTY, Utah — County attorneys have dropped the charges against the man who allegedly started a 4,000-acre wildfire over the summer.

On Monday, Tooele County Attorney’s Office sent a statement to KSL, stating a belief that there isn’t enough evidence to criminally prosecute Gary Carr for reckless burning and reckless endangerment.

“After we received the police report, fire marshal report, defendant’s interview, etc. we did not believe that we had sufficient evidence that the defendant’s conduct was ‘a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor’s standpoint.’ ” according to the statement.

The attorney’s office said that while Carr’s actions might be reckless in civil law, they didn’t meet the qualifications in criminal code.

“The term ‘reckless’ in the criminal code and in civil law have different definitions,” reads the statement. “The reckless standard we must apply is that set by the Utah Legislature and is a higher standard of proof than reckless in a civil context.”

The attorney’s office provided what criminal code states as reckless:

Recklessly with respect to circumstances surrounding his conduct or the result of his conduct when he is aware of but consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that its disregard constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor’s standpoint.

On July 9, Carr called 911 and reported his generator had caught fire and the flames were spreading to nearby trees, according to a previous Stockton Police statement.

Carr was interviewed by police and Bureau of Land Management fire investigators, where he admitted using a circular saw with a cut cord on his generator.

He told authorities that the saw was extremely hot, so he set it next to a sealed gas can on the back of his RV. Carr then plugged the RV into the generator and went inside, police say.

A few minutes later, Carr heard a pop sound followed by hissing noises and noticed his generator caught on fire spreading to the nearby trees.

He attempted to extinguish the fire with water and by digging it out, but the flames caught his RV on fire, and he called 911.

The Jacob City Fire was a little over 4.000 acres and caused burn scares that resulted in flooding and water issues for Tooele County residents.

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Charges dropped against man who allegedly started Jacob City Fire