LAKE COUNTY, Calif. (KTVU) - The man accused of arson in the massive Clayton Fire in Lower Lake, California is due to be arraigned Wednesday. More than 175 homes and other structures were lost.
40-year-old Damin Anthony Pashilk faces numerous charges, including arson and aggravated arson with prior offenses.
We’ve learned Pashilk served a five-year-sentence on drug possession and firearms charges where he was trained as an inmate firefighter. He was released in 2007.
Born in San Francisco, Pashilk is a construction worker, but he’s now behind bars in the Lake County Jail. He makes his first court appearance Wednesday.
We wondered how folks affected by this rash of fires would rule if they were the judge in this case.
Mario Martinez lost his home of five years this weekend; a home he built with his own hands when not working his regular job. Nonetheless, Martinez wants real justice, not just an accused man easy to blame.
"Nobody is guilty until the law proves that to the judge. So, if he's guilty, the law has to do his work and he has to pay whatever the law says," said Martinez.
Doug James homes, a few blocks away, was spared but feels the arsonist is a menace.
He was asked what the arsonist should get. "The most, the most that someone could get. I mean, this is the worst," said James.
Beyond punishment, James said he thinks he should be able to meet face to face with the people he affected, give him their opinion of what he's done, how it impacted their lives," said Tom Boll a victim of the 2015 Valley Fire.
Hardesters Market has three locations in the communities where fires have ravaged the region for the last three years. Employees here have had to deal with the tragedies of so many victims, not just right after these fires but for all the time ever since.
So, we asked them, if the man charged with arson announced yesterday is convicted, What should be the appropriate, assuming that it goes to trial.
"Somebody will get a hold of him in jail, because somebody knows somebody who lost their house. And, it's a small area. Hopefully somebody will take care of him before he gets to trial," says Rick Wilson, a Hardester's Market employee.
"Throw away the key. Never see, you know, the light of day again; because he's put so many lives in jeopardy, disrupted so many lives, you know, precious things that cannot be replaced," says Joy Fleming, another employee.
Despite the arrest, the fear remains. "They did say that he didn't act alone. I think that part of you thinks, ‘Yeah, he's gone, but I think there's doubt that there's somebody else.’ You know, there's so many sick people out there that they think, ‘Okay, I'll be a copy cat,” said Fleming.