|Updated: 9/19/2012 9:55 pm
||Published: 9/19/2012 3:30 pm
The Creek County District Attorney’s office has filed charges in connection to the Creek County wildfire.
Billy Cloud is charged with 3rd degree arson or unlawful burning. Creek County officials say Cloud lives in the area where the wildfire started . A warrant has been issued for his arrest.
According to the affidavit Cloud is accused of willfully and maliciously causing the burning in excess of 50,000 acres and numerous residences and other structures, with a value of more than $1,000,000.
The affidavit also includes narrative from a Creek County Sheriff's deputy who reports going to Cloud's address on August 2nd on a report that kids started a fire and ran into the woods. The deputy noted a large column of smoke coming from the area of the address and spotted a large area of grass and trees burning. The deputy called dispatch to contact the Freedom Hill and Drumright fire departments.
The deputy says the woman who reported the fire was battling flames near her home and told the deputy the family next door was drinking and smoking cigarettes and started the fire. The deputy also found three homes on the north side of the address on fire as well.
The deputy says he spoke to Billy Cloud, who told him he didn't know and said he was in his house drinking with the family. The deputy says Billy told him "two of my cousins were here drinking with us and threw their cigarettes into the grass in the yard, starting the fire."
The deputy says when he asked who his cousins were that Billy Cloud told him the property was restricted and he had no right to be there and showed the deputy a Creek Nation blood identification card. The deputy contacted the Creek Nation Light Horse Tribal Police who said they would dispatch a unit to the area.
At that point the affidavit shows the deputy was called away to help as the wildfire grew and returned to the area on August 7th. The deputy says on that visit Billy Cloud's girlfriend told him Billy told her that "they were smoking a cigarette and threw it down and it went 'woo.'" The deputy says he returned to the Cloud residence and people did not talk to him much except to say they were related to the suspect and the deputy was on restricted land.
The affidavit includes details from the report from the Bureau of Indian Affairs that found the point of origin of the fire was in front of the Cloud residence and a cigarette butt was taken into evidence and is believed to be what started the fire.
The BIA report includes statements from various witnesses including a family member who said he, another man and Billy Cloud were inside the house talking when Billy went outside and then came back in and said there was a fire. The family member says he and Billy tried to put out the fire but it was spreading fast and that Billy told him he was putting out a cigarette when the fire started.
A female family member reported that she saw Billy intoxicated at the house when she went to check on the fire and when she said "Look what they did to grandma's house!" he replied, "So what!"
The report from the Muscogee Creek Nation Light Horse tribal police says an officer got a call to check on the welfare of the Cloud family due to the fire. The officer found a home on fire with a large fire surrounding it and says Benny and Billy were sitting on the porch drinking beer as if nothing was going on. The officer says he tried to talk to them but they were difficult to understand.
The affidavit also includes a document from the Muscogee Creek Nation Realty Trust Services who found the home is not on restricted land.
According to the affidavit the fire that started at the Cloud residence burned for approximately six days. A deputy drove every road in the area to assess damage and noted approximately 380 homes lost due to the fire, not including the acres of land burned.
Cloud’s bond has been preset at $40,000.
He has been previously arrested about ten years ago for public intoxication.