Destructive Fire Near Boise Started By Firefighter

Sep 18, 2012

The Karney Fire north of Boise has destroyed one home and threatens between 75 and 100 more. It started Monday night in the Wilderness Ranch subdivision between Boise and Idaho City. The Boise County sheriff says it was arson and an 18 year old fire fighter has been arrested. 

Sheriff’s officials in Boise County arrested Nathaniel Bartholomew.  He’s charged with setting the Karney fire. The Sheriff's office says Bartholomew was seen in the area right before the fire started. 

Bartholomew was then fighting the fire Monday night when he was pulled off the effort.  Police say he later confessed.

Boise County chief deputy Dale Rodgers says Bartholomew lives in the Robie Creek area where the fire started and he’s a member of a local volunteer fire department. Rodgers says he does not think Bartholomew intended to damage property.

“I think when he started it he had another intent and that intent might have been recognition from a family member who is a fire fighter,” Rodgers says.

Rodgers confirms the suspect’s father is also a member of a volunteer fire crew. Boise County police have only made one arrest but Rodgers says there is at least one more person of interest.

Initially, the fire threatened about 20 homes in an area northwest of Highway 21.  After the fire jumped a containment line Tuesday morning, officials say it could reach up to 100 homes.

Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio