CRIME

Man Started Utah Wildfire To 'Signal For Help,' Police Say

04/23/2015 07:17 pm ET | Updated Apr 23, 2015
Grand County Sheriff

A man who allegedly started a brush fire in Utah that claimed up to 40 acres of old growth trees did it to signal for help, police said Wednesday.

Weston Vetere, 25, of Green River, got stuck in his vehicle trying to turn around on a hillside, so he allegedly lit up some nearby brush to try and get authorities' attention, according to a Grand County sheriff's press release. The ensuing wildfire burned up to 40 acres of old growth Cottonwood trees on April 13, police said.

One firefighter suffered burns "when he stepped into a burned-out stump hole on the property," and was taken to a nearby hospital, according to the release.

Several structures were threatened by the fire, but weren't damaged.

Vetere was arrested and charged with arson.

Court records show that he has been charged with a slew of felonies in the past, including driving under the influence, weapons charges, drug possession and sexual battery. He served time in jail for the drug possession charges, but it wasn't clear whether he was sentenced on the other counts.

His friends and family didn't immediately respond to calls for comment from The Huffington Post.

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