One of two men tied to Cold Creek Fire is sentenced; another still missing
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AMERICAN FALLS — A Wyoming man found guilty of starting a fire that burned nearly 4,000 acres and destroyed two homes has been sentenced to probation.
Brandon Donato Frias, 23, was sentenced to two years of unsupervised probation by Magistrate Judge Paul Laggis for the misdemeanor charge of setting a fire to wildland, according to court documents. He was also ordered to pay $157.50 in fees and fines.
Frias and another man, 20-year-old Lucas Daniels, of Blackfoot, were cited after reporting the fire that started on June 14, 2021.
Frias was found guilty following an April 19 trial. An arrest warrant for Daniels remains active and unreturned since he was a no-show for a hearing in July.
Frias and Lucas were among the first 911 callers to report the fire, police reports show.
The two men told officers that they were in the area of Cold Creek Road when Daniels asked Frias to teach him how to weld, they told officers. During the instructions, Frias fell asleep, he said, and the fire had already been ignited when he woke.
Both men admitted to seeing the no fire zone signs before their actions.
Four victims provided impact statements at the sentencing hearing.
Following the statements, Laggis suspended a six-month prison sentence. Civil suits can still be filed.