Cal Fire investigators Tuesday announced the arrest of a transient allegedly responsible for setting the 2013 Silver Fire near Banning that burned more than 20,000 acres and injured more than a dozen people, including several firefighters.
Stephen Patrick Medlock, 53, was arrested by San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies on March 8 and booked on two felony arson counts stemming from the Aug. 7, 2013, blaze that swept through the foothills and mountains south of Banning that afternoon.
Investigators allege Medlock used a BIC-style lighter to set the blaze. He told investigators that the fire began accidentally when he set the lighter down in the brush and it malfunctioned, according to an arrest warrant declaration.
“Medlock was the only person in the fire area at the time it started,” the declaration states.
The blaze burned 20,292 acres and about 60 structures in the community of Poppet Flats.
Riverside County prosecutors charged Medlock with arson in 2016. He’s currently being held on $100,000 bail and is slated to appear in court May 2 for a felony settlement conference.