Man driving travel trailer with dragging axle arrested for starting fire

A Cal Fire law enforcement officer arrested a Reno man on Sept. 7 at approximately 5:30 p.m. for starting the “139 Fire.”

The 139 Fire started on Sept. 7 at 4 p.m. one mile south of Adin in Lassen County and consisted of three separate fires — the smallest of which was less than one acre and the largest of which was over 30 acres.

The cause of the fire was determined to be a travel trailer that experienced failure of its wheel bearings. This caused the trailer to lose its tire, which made the axle drag on the roadway, sending hot sparks and hot material into the vegetation along the highway. The driver towing the trailer drove over 40 miles, from Adin to Eagle Lake before he was apprehended. The suspect was booked into Lassen County Jail on suspicion of violating Penal Code 452(c), unlawfully and recklessly causing a fire that burns or causes to be burned, any structure, forest land or property.

As fire danger remains extreme across California, Cal Fire reminds residents to consider vehicle safety:

  • Never let your brake pads wear too thin. Metal on metal makes sparks.
  • Vehicles parked too closely to vegetation start fires.
  • Dragging chains will throw sparks. Never substitute parts when towing. Only use appropriate safety pins and hitch ball.
  • Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained, with nothing dragging on the
    ground.
  • Check tire pressure. Driving on an exposed wheel rim throws sparks.