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Man who started 2021 fire in Santa Barbara sentenced to 8 years in prison

Loma Fire.jpg
Posted at 1:16 PM, May 04, 2023

The man who was convicted of starting a 2021 fire in Santa Barbara has been sentenced to eight years in prison, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office announced today.

Victor Angel Hernandez, a 24-year-old Santa Barbara resident, pleaded guilty to charges stemming from an arson that caused the Loma Fire which burned above Loma Alta Drive and on TV Hill.

As part of a plea deal, Hernandez pleaded guilty to arson of an inhabited structure and admitted to an enhancement for starting a fire that damaged multiple structures.

An enhancement can add additional prison time to the base charges.

The fire, described in the DA's press release as fast-moving due to unstable weather conditions, caused evacuations of nearby areas, including the KEYT newsroom.

The fire burned approximately nine acres and damaged several structures.

“Thank you to the fire personnel who risked their lives stopping the spread of this arson before it could do even more damage to our city,” Santa Barbara County District Attorney John R. Savrnoch said in a county press release. “Due to outstanding work, dedication, and corroboration between the Santa Barbara City Fire Investigators, Santa Barbara Police Officers and Detectives, and the prosecution team led by Senior Deputy Kevin Weichbrod, this individual was held accountable for his actions.”

As part of the plea agreement, Hernandez must register as an arson offender – a lifetime designation – and pay at least $80,000 in restitution to the city, according to the DA’s press release.