Caldor Fire arson suspects’ attorney and El Dorado County DA’s investigator discuss case

Local News

EL DORADO COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — A father and son have been arrested and accused of arson in connection with the Caldor Fire, but parties on both sides feel they have a good case.

Linda Salazar and her husband lost everything in the Caldor Fire, which burned more than 220,000 acres in El Dorado, Amador and Alpine counties.

Salazar said she believes Wednesday’s arrests of 66-year-old David Scott Smith and his 32-year-old son Travis Shane Smith by El Dorado County Sheriff’s investigators just doesn’t make sense.

“It’s hard to believe,” Salazar said. “They’re always shooting up there, ain’t never caused a fire yet. I find it hard to believe that shooting up there would start a forest fire, and then for it to get out of control.”

The El Dorado County District Attorney’s chief investigator, Jeff Dreher, told FOX40 the investigation was done well.

“We’re very pleased with being able to make the arrest. It was a long investigation,” Dreher said. “Very pleased with their production.”

The Smiths’ attorney, Mark Reichel, told FOX40 that the father and son duo are accused of shooting firearms in the wilderness which inadvertently started the Caldor Fire.

“There’s no evidence, I’m aware of at all, that they were shooting an illegal firearm that caused a fire,” Reichel said.

Investigators said it’s reckless arson that caused properties to burn and great bodily injury to multiple victims.

“The negligence of it, what started that fire, what they were doing at that time,” Dreher said. “Ultimately should’ve known, that wasn’t the smartest thing to do at that time of the year and the conditions right there.”

The Smiths have been booked into the El Dorado County Jail with their bail at $1 million each. They’re scheduled to be formally charged with reckless arson on Friday.

“I do know that they, they were the ones that called 911 and called it in and said look, ‘There’s a fire,’” Reichel said. “They warned other campers in the area.”

Reichel said the father and son are longtime residents of the area and have never gotten into trouble.

“They’re 100% innocent and I believe they’re going to prove that,” Reichel said.

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