Former Ind. Plant Worker Sentenced to 30 Years for Setting Fire

December 19, 2007

A former plant worker who pleaded guilty to setting a fire at a magnesium recycling company has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Darrin Dettra, 41, of Chesterfield, admitted setting the January 2005 fire that caused some $12 million in damage. In return for his guilty plea, Madison County prosecutors agreed to seek a 30-year sentence rather than the maximum penalty of 50 years.

Dettra has been convicted of arson twice in Pennsylvania, and was arrested in Indiana for setting the fire at Advanced Magnesium Alloys Corp., or AMACOR, in Anderson.

The AMACOR plant fire caused an estimated $12 million in damage and forced some 8,000 nearby residents from their homes. It took three days for the fire to burn itself out. AMACOR’s insurance company settled a class action lawsuit brought by property owners for about $1 million.

Court records show AMACOR officials were in the process of firing Dettra from his job as a custodian about the time of the fire.

Prosecutors theorized that Dettra set the fire with the intention of extinguishing it so company officials would view him as a hero. Dettra allegedly asked Chesterfield firefighters how to put out such a fire before the blaze.

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