On March 2, 2022 Deputies responded to a 911 call of a woods fire North of Highway 274 behind Spectra Technologies LLC gate. Deputy Eric McCaughan arrived on scene at Spectra and was escorted to the back of the property where he observed a large amount of smoke in the air.
At this time multiple fire departments were dispatched along with the Forestry Department. After observing the smoke, it was clear that the fire was not located on Spectra’s land so Deputy McCaughan and Chief Deputy Daniel Foster began patrolling the area of Calhoun 74, 116, and all other surrounding county roads.
A short time later the fire was located between county roads 116, 74 and 246. The forestry department arrived on scene with heavy equipment and air support and began to battle the fire while the Fire Departments were stationed at Spectra Technologies to ensure that the fire would not spread to their property.
While patrolling the area Deputy McCaughan came across a white male sitting on the side of Calhoun 74 approximately one quarter mile West of the fire.
Upon making contact the individual was identified as Dustin Wade Reddin. Deputy McCaughan offered Reddin a ride after Reddin stated he was walking towards Bearden and Reddin agreed.
Deputy McCaughan then noticed the clothing description of Reddin and noticed that it matched the description of another fire call earlier that morning in the same area and also the description of a suspect involved in a residential burglary in the Locust Bayou area where pictures were gathered from game cameras belonging to the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office. At this time a pat down was conducted and a sharp object believed to be a rail road spike was found in his front pocket. At this time Reddin was detained for officer safety and Reddin was read his Miranda Rights and questioned about his involvement with the large woods fire. Reddin was asked if he started the fire and he replied “yes.” Reddin was then placed under arrest and transported to the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office. On March 3, 2022 a second interview was conducted with Reddin.
Reddin was advised of his Miranda Rights and he agreed to speak with members of the Sheriff’s Office and an Arson investigator with the Arkansas Department of Agriculture. At that time a full confession was obtained on both cases pertaining to the woods fire, the Residential Burglary and vandalism of the home on highway 278 West. Reddin is being held on the charges of Arson, Criminal Mischief 1st degree x2, Possession of Instrument of Crime, Criminal Trespass x2, and Residential Burglary. On March 3, 2022 Reddin was taken before a judge on the charges listed above and given a bond of $50,000.
After speaking with the Department of Agriculture and other departments it was determined that approximately 434 acres of timber was damaged by the fire.