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No Prison for Man Who Burned Factory Down

An employee of Fiberglass Structures, Inc. was "harmlessly” playing with a lighter when the factory erupted into flames.

I think it’s safe to say we’ve all made some on-the-job mistakes throughout our careers. I've even been know to make a type-o or two.

Maybe if I tell this story to Kristopher Harasymczuk of Laurel, Montana, he might feel a little bit better about his own slight mishap on the job. You see, Kristopher was an employee of the fiberglass company Fiberglass Structures Inc., and in 2015, the 30-year-old was “harmlessly” playing with a lighter when the chemical-packed factory erupted into flames.

More than 20 employees were evacuated safely, but all told the incident caused between $5 and $7 million in damages.

At first, firefighters weren’t sure what had caused the blaze and Kristopher, rather than admitting to his role, actually called a local television station to report that he had saved a co-worker from the building.

During the investigation, however, an employee reported that he was washing his hands and arms with an acetone solution when he noticed Kristopher holding a lighter. Moments later, that employee realized he was on fire, and said Kristopher helped pat him down and evacuate the building before it burned to the ground.

Well, eventually he pleaded no contest to negligent arson and this week a Montana judge handed down his sentence – brace yourselves: He will spend no time in prison, and a six-year deferred sentence means the conviction will be wiped from his record after six years. But here’s where it gets tough – the judge also said Kristopher must pay $100 in restitution a month every month for those six years. So, $7,200.

Robert Harris, president of Fiberglass Structures Inc., said he would be watching diligently to make sure all payments are made.

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