Aug 22, 2014 12:07 PM by News Staff
The man accused of starting the Bully Fire in Shasta County failed to show up in court for an arraignment hearing today.
37-year-old Freddie Smoke III was allegedly operating a large rental truck to deliver soil amendments to an illegal marijuana grow site in the area of Roaring Creek Road and Sargent Road in Ono and the fire started when Smoke operated the truck off road, in rough, grass covered terrain. The trucks exhaust system contacted the dry grass and ignited the vegetation, the fire burned 12,661 acres.
Smoke was charged with involuntary manslaughter charges after Cal Fire officials found the body of a badly burned man inside fire lines on July 16.
Smoke was originally arrested for recklessly causing a fire and marijuana cultivation and posted bail. He has not been seen since the manslaughter charges were filed.
A new bench warrant for $500,000 was issued Friday morning. Authorities say Smoke has ties to Redding, Sacramento and Los Angeles, as well as Indiana and Illinois. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is encouraged to contact law enforcement.