41-year-old Angela Kay Smith of Centralia, Washington has been booked into the Lake County jail facing two charges of arson after allegedly admitting to law enforcement a cigarette she was smoking sparked the Ogulin Fire that grew to 17.2 acres and caused mandatory evacuations yesterday afternoon.
Sergeant Mike Perreault of the Clearlake Police Department told us Smith was located by Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputies in the vicinity of the fire and subsequently detained. While detained, Smith allegedly told deputies outright that a cigarette she had been smoking had ignited the Ogulin Fire. Sergeant Perreault said that it was unclear whether Smith intended to start the fire using her cigarette or if it was an accidental start.
An eyewitness also came forward and told deputies he had been driving along Highway 53 and watched Smith walking away from the fire moments after it had ignited when it was only a 7’x7’ foot square of flame. The witness would later identify Smith as the woman he watched walking away from the fire.
The fire flared up quickly in the afternoon sun reportedly growing at an “extreme rate of spread”. Businesses and residences were evacuated due to the blaze and Highway 53 was closed as the blaze burned alongside it.
The booking logs state that Smith is facing one charge of felony arson during a state of emergency, a felony causing a fire of structure/forest land, and one misdemeanor controlled substance.
Sergeant Perreault told us Smith was also found with methamphetamine in her possession.
Remember, any charges associated with this incident have not been proven in a court of law and the details of the incident are still being sorted out. In accordance with the legal principle of the presumption of innocence, any individual described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.