The view of the Loma Fire from the Ortega Street footbridge around 10:15 p.m. on May 20, 2021. | Credit: Tayden Tomblin

Santa Barbara man Victor Angel Hernandez, 24, was sentenced to eight years in state prison for the arson fire that caused the Loma Fire in May 2021, District Attorney John T. Savrnoch announced on Thursday. Hernandez pleaded guilty to arson of an inhabited structure and admitting a special allegation for starting a fire that caused damage to multiple structures.

The wind-driven Loma Fire broke out the night of May 20, 2021, above Loma Alta Drive and spread up TV Hill toward Miramonte Drive, prompting evacuations of the surrounding streets and neighborhoods. The fire burned around nine acres, damaging multiple residences, before it was contained by fire personnel.

Hernandez was arrested several hours after the blaze began and had initially pleaded not guilty to multiple felony charges. Hernandez was facing more than 15 years in prison for those charges but struck a plea bargain with the DA’s Office earlier this year. As part of the deal, Hernandez must register as an arson offender for the rest of his life and pay at least $80,000 to the city in restitution.

In his statement, DA Savrnoch thanked “the fire personnel who risked their lives stopping the spread of this arson before it could do even more damage to our city” and commended Santa Barbara City Fire investigators, Santa Barbara Police officers and detectives, and the prosecution team led by Senior Deputy Kevin Weichbrod for holding Hernandez accountable for his actions.

This is a developing story. Check back for additional details as they become available.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.