A Hailey man was sentenced last week to 18 months of unsupervised probation and a suspended 180-day jail term for starting a fire that partially engulfed his family residence in Hiawatha Estates this past summer.
Stanton Dean Pavlicek, 29, was charged with second-degree felony arson the morning of July 25. Unlike first-degree arson, the charge represents the intention to immolate a building or home that does not have any occupants inside.
The Blaine County Prosecutor’s Office amended the felony charge on Nov. 4 to misdemeanor property damage. Pavlicek pleaded guilty to the amended charges on Nov. 15, court records show.
Pavlicek will also need to pay a $1,000 fine with $500 suspended and $158 in court costs, Magistrate Judge Jennifer Haemmerle ruled on Nov. 15. He faces up to 30 days of discretionary jail time for violating any term or condition of probation, which includes a stipulation that he not access his family’s home.
On July 25, the Hailey Police Department was dispatched to a fire at Pavlicek’s family residence on Pocahontas Drive around 1:30 a.m. Once on scene, police found the south side of the living room “fully engulfed” and flames coming out of a broken window in the same area, according to a probable-cause-for-arrest affidavit written by Hailey Police Officer Joshua Latimer.
Latimer suspected the fire was started by Pavlicek due to “previous involvements” with the man, the affidavit said. Once Latimer tracked down Pavlicek about a half mile from his residence, the suspect’s face “appeared red, and the hair on his head appeared to be singed from every angle,” according to the affidavit.
Pavlicek allegedly claimed that he threw a lit cigarette into the fireplace when it missed and an ember landed on a nearby couch that he had accidentally spilled lighter fluid on. According to the affidavit, Pavlicek admitted multiple times to starting the fire and repeated that he “disliked the couch in the living room.”
Further investigation by Hailey Fire Department arson investigator Nate Hoff found “several distinct, inconsistent pouring patterns” of lighter fluid “of an accelerant being intentionally dumped or poured, and not accidently spilled or leaked,” indicating arson. ￼