Suspect found not guilty of causing Dorsey Fire in Grass Valley |

Suspect found not guilty of causing Dorsey Fire in Grass Valley

A Truckee jury on Thursday found a 21-year-old man not guilty of arson in connection with an October wildland fire.

Timothy Bianchi had denied any involvement in setting the Oct. 27 blaze in Grass Valley, called the Dorsey Fire, that charred about 15 acres.

Bianchi was arrested and charged with recklessly causing a forest fire after witnesses told Grass Valley police officers he had been near the abandoned camp site where the fire started, and had been seen “playing with fire” the day before, with a gas can and a torch.

During the preliminary hearing into the evidence, U.S. Forest Service fire investigator Brian Donnelly testified he responded to find “very intense — I would say extreme” fire behavior that day. Donnelly testified that while on the property, he met Bianchi and another man trying to put out the fire with hand tools.

The trial was moved from the main courthouse in Nevada City to Truckee after the Public Defender’s Office opted against having Nevada County Superior Court Judge Robert Tice-Raskin conduct the trial.

“Any time there’s proof that an individual negligently started a fire, we take those type of allegations very seriously,” said Deputy District Attorney Casey Ayer. “We understand this was a difficult case and we respect the jury’s decision.”

Nevada County Public Defender Keri Klein, meanwhile, said her office was pleased with the jury verdict.

“They thoroughly evaluated the evidence and reached a decision,” Klein said. “They worked hard and we always appreciate the hard effort of our community members.”

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email or call 530-477-4236.

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