What’s Next For The Table Rock Fire Suspect?
19-year-old Taylor Kemp is currently the only suspect behind the blaze that scorched 2,600 acres and cost one family their home.
Three Different Accounts of June 29th
The Ada County Sheriff's department posted a blog on their website claiming that Kemp admitted that he was actually the person responsible for igniting the Table Rock Fire. According to that blog, the high winds on the evening of June 29th knocked over the fireworks.
However, by the time television stations across the Treasure Valley went live with the story on Wednesday afternoon, Kemp had a different story. He told KTVB that sheriff's deputies insisted that they knew he did it and told him to stop lying during a home interview in late August. Kemp insists that he is innocent and went on to tell KTVB that the only thing he is guilty of is setting off fireworks in the foothills in the days leading up to the fire, but not the night of June 29th. He believes that fingerprints found on those set of fireworks are how investigators tied him to the Table Rock blaze. He also claimed that because he had purchased the fireworks legally in Elmore county, he didn't know they were illegal to light off.
According to the Idaho Statesman, one of their reporters got a slightly different version of that story from Kemp via a chat message. In their article, Kemp says that he and a friend didn't have fireworks at all, but "pop-its." If you're unfamiliar with "pop-its" they're small noisemaker that make a fireworks cracking sound when you throw them at the ground. He again mentions the home interview with ACSO deputies and alleges that detectives told him he would be arrested if he failed to write a letter of regret. Kemp tells the Statesman's reporter he feared for his life.
Kemp heads to court later this month to face a misdemeanor citation for violating the county's fireworks ordinance. If convicted he could face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The Statesman also says that the Boise Fire Department and BLM will seek restitution for their costs. They spent $150,000 and $250,000 respectively.
Van Danielson, the man who lost the home he inherited from his parents, will also seek some sort of compensation. Danielson tells the Statesman he didn't have insurance on the home and while he knows that a 19-year-old will likely not be able to cover the $200,000 in damages his family experience, he'd like Kemp to pay the family back in the form of community service. He suggested 160 hours of helping clean up the fire aftermath.