Worker Jailed in Fire Set to Hide Error

FRIDAY, JUNE 5, 2015

REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN--A framing subcontractor's employee will spend 18 months behind bars for torching a residential project in order to conceal a construction error in 2010.

Jeremy Myles Schopf, 33, of North Battleford, was sentenced May 27 on charges of arson for fraudulent purposes and conspiracy to commit an indictable offense, according to local reports, citing authorities.

Authorities said Schopf set the fire after a construction error was discovered.

His employer, Bradley Stanley Krall, 31, of Regina, is facing the same charges in connection with the fire, which damaged three luxury homes. Both men were arrested in April.

An investigation into the Aug.13, 2010, fire determined that it had been set. None of the homes was occupied at the time, and no one was injured. Damage estimates were between $600,000 and $1 million.

In addition to jail time, Schopf was ordered to pay $100,000 in restitution.

Case documents were not immediately available for review.

Costly Construction Error

According to the Regina Leader-Post, crown prosecutors told the Provincial Court that Schopf and Krall had been framing the second story of one of the homes.

However, an error in the framing caused an argument among the parties and the house could not be completed as planned, according to the newspaper.

Prosecutors said Krall had initially agreed to pay for the labor to fix the mistake, and an unidentified contractor agreed to pay for the supplies.

The Fire

However, the Leader-Post reported, “It's alleged Krall asked his employee [Schopf] to set fire to the house instead—which would leave insurance companies footing the bill—and drove Schopf to the house on the date of the fire."

Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

The fire spread quickly to two nearby homes, also under construction, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.

Schopf allegedly lit the fire on the first floor of the home in exchange for $500.

“[T]he fire became so intense so quickly that Mr. Schopf said his pants just about started fire,” Prosecutor Loreley Berra reportedly told the court.

The fire moved fast and spread to two nearby homes under construction, causing extensive damage.

Schopf reportedly provided police with a full confession after his arrest in April, the newspaper noted.

‘Under Pressure’

His lawyer, Jennifer Calderbank, told the Leader-Post that her client felt remorse for what he did.

She said he felt "under some pressure" to go through with setting the blaze and had been told he would otherwise not be paid for the prior two weeks of work.


Tagged categories: Criminal acts; Enforcement; Ethics; Fire; Good Technical Practice; Home builders; North America; Wood

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