Man sentenced for role in National Hotel blaze

2013-02-01T00:00:00Z Man sentenced for role in National Hotel blazeBy John Grant Emeigh of The Montana Standard Montana Standard

The man who helped start a fire in the historic National Hotel in 2010 received a three-year sentence Thursday to the Montana Department of Corrections.

Jeffrey Mizerski, 32, also must pay nearly $50,000 in restitution. Mizerski had earlier pleaded guilty to felony arson by accountability.

Judge Brad Newman sentenced Mizerski to 10 years with seven years suspended. The judge credited him for 98 days spent in jail.

Newman will recommend that Mizerski spend most of his sentence in a chemical dependency treatment program. The judge took the recommendation from the county attorney’s office that treatment would be better because Mizerski has a long history of drug and alcohol problems.

Mizerski’s attorney, Edmund Sheehy, said his client has acknowledged his addictions and is prepared to address them while in custody.

“He wants to get control (of his life),” Sheehy said.

Mizerski and another man, Billie Joe Brasher, 38, intentionally started a fire on Aug. 23, 2010, that heavily damaged the historic building, 703 St. Utah St. Court documents state that they were roommates in the hotel and they started a fire in their second-story apartment. Other tenants safely evacuated from the burning building, but some were treated at St. James Healthcare for smoke inhalation. The damage caused by the blaze later resulted in the building being razed.

In June, Newman sentenced Brasher to eight years in the Montana State Prison and ordered him to pay $79,000 in restitution.

— Reporter John Grant Emeigh may be reached via email at john.emeigh@lee.net or phone at 496-5511.

Follow him at Twitter.com/@johnemeigh.

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