The four people charged with starting the Pier Fire that burned almost 37,000 acres were sentenced to multiple years in prison
VISALIA – Four arsonists were sentenced on Monday, for their part in starting the 2017 Pier Fire near Springville.
According to the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office, in the early morning hours of Aug. 29, 2017, the defendants deliberately set fire to a stolen car to destroy it, which in turn ignited the blaze that incurred $40 million in damages and costs. The Pier Fire was declared contained on Sept. 24, 2017 after burning over 36,500 acres.
Law enforcement arrested Isiac Renteria, 23, Richard Renteria, 25, and Osvaldo Esparza-Guerrero, 24 and Breane Ojeda, 25, in late October of 2017. All of which were from Visalia. The DA’s office charged each of them criminally, and could have been charged to life in prison. However, the DA pointed out in a press release from Monday, Sept. 27 that state law prohibits a life sentence.
“According to state law…beginning in January 2024, the sentence of life in prison can no longer be imposed for aggravated arson with a loss over $8.3 million. The statute would be retroactively applied in this case,” the press release stated.
Isiac Renteria, 23, Richard Renteria, 25, and Osvaldo Esparza-Guerrero, 24, were each sentenced to eight years suspended prison with credit for three years actually served in custody. Breane Ojeda, 25 Ojeda was sentenced to three years, four months of suspended prison.
All four pleaded to felonies on Aug. 19 of this year. Isiac pleaded to arson of a structure or forest, four counts of taking a vehicle without consent, Richard pleaded to arson of a structure or forest, four counts of taking a vehicle without consent; Esparza-Guerrero pleased to arson of a structure or forest, three counts of taking a vehicle without consent and Ojeda pleased to arson, two counts of taking a vehicle without consent.