Two Deschutes County men appeared in court Wednesday on charges they set the Fourth of July fire on Pilot Butte using illegal fireworks.
Both Alan Joseph Stout, 29, and Brandon Joel Hastings, 38, have been in jail since their arrests two weeks ago after a local television news crew made a tip to police. They were arraigned in Deschutes County Circuit Court as co-defendants on charges of reckless burning, possessing prohibited aerial fireworks and second-degree criminal mischief.
They’re accused of setting a fire that closed U.S. Highway 20 in Bend for several hours and knocked out power to about 38,000 Pacific Power customers in Bend as the city was crowded for Independence Day. An apartment complex, The Outlook at Pilot Butte, was evacuated as a precaution.
The pair was originally charged only with reckless burning. District Attorney John Hummel said additional investigation confirmed the fireworks had been purchased illegally and revealed the “extensive” nature of damage to the Pilot Butte State Park.
Bend Police were tipped off by journalists with Central Oregon Daily who interviewed witnesses who say they saw Stout and Hastings light a mortar-style firework from the butte, according to Lt. Clint Burleigh, police spokesman.
Should they be released from jail, Judge Randy Miller ordered them not to possess fireworks of any kind and have no contact with Pacific Power, Pilot Butte State Park or each other.
Court records list a Redmond address for Hasting. Stout is described by Bend Police as a transient.
Hastings and an Amanda Jo Reeves were convicted in 2014 of a string of mail, credit card and identity thefts committed around the state. He was initially charged with 30 counts, and ultimately pleaded guilty to eight and was given a sentence of three years in prison.
Bend Fire Department responded to 12 fires during the week of the Fourth of July caused by people misusing fireworks, according to Battalion Chief Dave Howe, a spokesperson.
— Reporter: 541-383-0325, email@example.com