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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

North Pass Fire: Grower Pulls Shotgun on CAL FIRE Firefighter

 A CAL FIRE firefighter had a shotgun pulled on him by a suspected marijuana grower while battling a wildfire on Aug. 30.

The firefighter was in his gear while operating in a mandatory evacuation zone in the Blands Cover area near the North Pass Fire when he was confronted by a man, according to The Willits News.

The firefighter left the area and Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies moved in.

Firefighters in the county reportedly spot marijuana grows occasionally but typically ignore them and go about suppression efforts.

The firefighter kept fighting the flames until he was approached by a man in a vehicle who ordered him to leave before aiming the shotgun at him, officials told the news station.

Deputies searched the evacuation zone and located a man and vehicle at a residence.

The man admitted to confronting the firefighter and told police he was growing marijuana and decided to stay at the residence instead of obeying the evacuation order.

Veda Bennett-Swank was arrested on suspicion of brandishing a firearm in a threatening manner, interfering with a firefighter at a fire and issuing criminal threats.

Source: Firehouse.com - Link

Another Version: 

FIREFIGHTER THREATENED WHILE WORKING NORTH PASS FIRE JH 09/04/12

A FIREFIGHTER WORKING THE NORTH PASS FIRE WAS THREATENED WITH A GUN NEAR A MARIJUANA GARDEN.

THE CAL FIRE FIREFIGHTER WAS ON A VACANT LOT OF LAND IN THE BLANDS COVE AREA, WHICH IS ALSO PART OF THE MANDATORY EVACUATION AREA.
 THE FIREFIGHTER WAS INVOLVED IN SUPPRESSION DUTIES AND DOCUMENTING FIRE DAMAGE, WHEN HE CAME UPON A MARIJUANA GARDEN. HE IGNORED IT AND CONTINUED WITH HIS WORK.
 A VEHICLE THEN APPROACHED, AND 21 YEAR OLD VEDA BENNETT-SWANK TOLD THE FIREFIGHTER TO LEAVE. THEN LOOKED DOWN AT AN OBJECT BETWEEN HIS LEGS. THE FIREFIGHTER THEN LOOKED, AND SAW A SHOTGUN POINTED DIRECTLY AT HIM, AND FEARING FOR HIS LIFE, LEFT THE AREA IMMEDIATELY. 
 DEPUTIES RETURNED AND LOCATED VEDA BENNET-SWANK WHO ADMITTED TO THE CHARGES AND WAS ARRESTED.

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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