A great father and son were arrested on suspicion California The wildfire destroyed several homes and forced tens of thousands of people to flee the Lake Tahoe community earlier this year, officials said.
The El Torado District Attorney’s Office said 66-year-old David Scott Smith and his son, Travis Shane Smith, 32, were charged with reckless arson Wednesday in a warrant issued before formal charges were filed.
The two’s attorney, Mark Richel, said they were arrested Wednesday afternoon and that the „irresponsible arson” was the accidental start of an arson, but „to the extent that it is considered irresponsible.”
Authorities say the blaze, which started in August, burned down homes and seriously injured people. The Caldor fire burned more than 346 square miles (897 sq km) east of Sacramento to the Nevada border, threatening ski resorts and other major recreational areas. The fire destroyed more than 1,000 homes and other buildings as most of the seasonal rooms crossed the remote forest.
The fire spread to three northern districts, destroying much of Grizzly Platts’ small community and forcing tens of thousands of people to evacuate the resort town of South Lake Tahoe before it was contained in October. Five people were injured.
It was one of two major fires last summer in the Sierra Nevada mountain range for the first time in modern history.
El Torado County District Attorney Vern Pearson cited the investigation and provided some details about Smith’s arrest.
Men’s lawyer Rachel said: „They’re totally 100% innocent.”
Riesel said he did not know the details of the charge, which officials say was set on fire.
He said Travis Smith was an electrician and was with his father near the scene of the fire. The son who saw the flames called 911, Rachel said.
The son made several 911 calls as calls continued to drop in the rough area, and both alerted campers about the fire, Rachel said.
„No one has ever been in trouble with the law in their lives. They are very law abiding people, ”he said.
The couple is scheduled to appear in court Friday, Richel said.
„No evidence has been submitted to the court under my cross-examination … this proves any of the prosecution evidence so far. So I ask everyone to wait to hear what really happened before they make any comment, ”Rachel added.
The district attorney’s office said the case was developed with the help of the Sacramento District Attorney’s Criminal Laboratory, in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service, the California Fire Brigade and the California Department of Justice.