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What charges do the men accused of starting the Caldor Fire face? Here’s what we know

KGET Bakersfield logo KGET Bakersfield 12/10/2021 Jose Fabian

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Court documents show the two men suspected of starting the Caldor Fire face several felonies, including recklessly causing a fire that injured someone. 

The El Dorado County District Attorney filed charges Thursday against the two men, 66-year-old David Scott Smith and 32-year-old Travis Shane Smith, who are father and son.

Following their arrests Wednesday, the Smiths’ attorney, Mark Reichel, told FOX40 that the duo is accused of shooting firearms into the wilderness, which inadvertently started the Caldor Fire.

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“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,” said Jeff Dreher, the El Dorado County District Attorney’s chief investigator. “Ultimately, should’ve known that wasn’t the smartest thing to do at that time of the year and the conditions right there.” 

According to the criminal complaint, David Smith faces four felonies. 

  • Recklessly causing a fire with great bodily injury.
  • Recklessly causing fire to inhabited structure.
  • Recklessly causing a fire of a structure or forest land.
  • Possession of a silencer for firearms.

David Smith faces felony enhancements as the fire was caused inside an area that was under a state of emergency. The enhancements are also related to the Caldor Fire injuring more than one person, injuring emergency responders and destroying multiple structures. 

Travis Smith faces the same felonies, but court documents show he additionally faces a charge of unlawfully and intentionally converting a firearm into a machine gun or knowingly manufacturing a machine gun. 

The Smiths were booked into the El Dorado County Jail with their bail at $1 million each.

According to Reichel, the father and son were the ones who called 911 and alerted others that a fire had started. 

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

Rowena Shaddox contributed to this report.

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