East Contra Costa Fire

East Contra Costa Fire Protection District and Cal Fire firefighters responded to a 5-acre vegetation fire off Camino Diablo in unincorporated Brentwood, Calif., Thursday, May 7, 2020. Arson charges were filed against Joshua Smith, 38, of Concord for this incident and a 13-acre fire on Marsh Creek Road the prior night. (Tony Kukulich/The Press)

 

Arson charges have been filed against a Concord man related to two vegetation fires that occurred in East County earlier this month.

Joshua David Smith, 38, was arrested by Cal Fire law enforcement officers May 20 and, according to the criminal complaint filed by the Contra Costa County Office of the District Attorney, he was charged with four counts of felony arson.

Smith was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility, and is currently being held on $450,000 bail. His arraignment is scheduled for May 26.

“The investigation done by Cal Fire law enforcement is still ongoing, but Cal Fire takes arson very, very seriously and we prosecute to the furthest extent of the law,” said Cal Fire Deputy Chief Mike Marcucci. “We work in coordination with the district attorney’s office in the county that the arson occurs in, and we have a very strong relationship with the Contra Costa district attorney. We have the utmost hope that this will result in a guilty verdict when it does go to trial. We try to keep the Marsh Creek/Morgan Territory area as safe as we can.”

Smith’s charges stem from a May 6 fire that burned 13 acres along Marsh Creek Road, and a May 7 incident that scorched five acres along Camino Diablo. Smith faces two charges for each incident; arson of a structure or forest, a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for three, five, or eight years and arson during a state of emergency, a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for five, seven, or nine years.

Resources from Cal Fire and the East Contra Costa and Contra Costa County fire protection districts responded to the May 6 incident when it was reported at 1:41 a.m.

“There was one or two acres, when they got on scene, burning up the hillside along the side of the road,” said Cal Fire Battalion Chief Brandon Leitzke. “The wind was a factor tonight, but not too bad.”

Leitzke said it took firefighters about 40 minutes to contain the fire, though crews remained on scene for several hours mopping up hot spots in the rugged terrain.

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