EL DORADO COUNTY (CBS) -Two men, accused of starting the Caldor Fire earlier this year, appeared via video in an El Dorado County courtroom today for an arraignment hearing.
On Wednesday, the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office announced that father and son David Scott Smith, 66, and Travis Shane Smith, 32, are under arrest on charges of reckless arson in connection with the fire, which burned more than 200,000 acres in El Dorado and Amador Counties.READ MORE: New Colorado Wildfire Prompts Evacuations In Monterey County
Friday, the father and son appeared from El Dorado County Jail in Placerville through video and entered Not Guilty pleas. They’re being held on $1 million bail each, and are expected to be back in court on Monday for a bail hearing.
Linda Parisi, an attorney representing David Smith, reiterated to CBS13 that her client, as well as his son Travis, are both innocent.
“Because they’re the ones who called it in. I’m sure there’s a significant amount of pressure to identify someone, but that’s not the job of the criminal justice system to just identify someone,” said Parisi.READ MORE: On Anniversary Of Roe V. Wade, Governor Newsom And First Partner Siebel Newsom Affirm California’s Commitment To Reproductive Freedom
She said both Smiths continued to go to work and have cooperated with law enforcement since they were first contacted. She said during the Caldor Fire the family evacuated, but their home was not damaged.
The two men are accused of violating section 452 of the California Penal Code, commonly referred to as “reckless arson,” which caused inhabited properties to burn and resulted in great bodily injury to multiple victims. Unlike malicious arson, a reckless arson charge can be filed against someone who sets a fire without intending to.
Parisi added that she “did not know” why her client would be facing firearms charges and that she expects to receive discovery, also known as evidence, from the prosecution as early as Friday.MORE NEWS: Carjacking in Stockton Park District Friday Evening
The fire started on the evening of August 14, 2021, and was active for 67 days. It was announced contained on October 21, but not before it burned 221,835 acres, including nearly the entire community of Grizzly Flats. The fire burned more than 1,000 structures and five people were injured.