A California fire chief has been indicted for involuntary manslaughter arising out of a 2017 wildland fire that claimed one life. Calaveras County District Attorney Barbara Yook announced the indictment of Mokelumne Hill Fire Protection District Fire Chief Michael Ray Dell’Orto.
According to MyMotherlode.com, the indictment alleges Chief Dell’Orto “killed David Rios, in the commission of a lawful act which might have produced death, in an unlawful manner, and without due caution and circumspection.”
On July 17, 2017, Rios suffered third degree burns over 90 percent of his body during a wildland fire designated as the Maria Fire. It burned over 100 acres between July 17 and 21, 2017. Rios died from his injuries on July 29.
Additional details about the connection between the fire and the indictment were not available either from MyMotherlode.com or from the District Attorney’s web site. However, in 2017 the Calaveras Enterprise reported that Rios’ family was seeking answers about what led to David’s being burned. His widow, Dianna Rios, claims David was supposed to be following her in his truck as they fled their ranch with their grandchildren.