UPDATE: Fire Marshal offers $5K reward for Burley arson information

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BURLEY, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — UPDATE: 02/01/2018: The Idaho State Fire Marshal now offers a $5,000 reward to help find who could be responsible for the fire in Burley.

Photo by KMVT's Elenee Dao

Fire Marshal Knute Sandahl said they were able to identify an ignitable liquid poured into the building and their fire pattern analysis would support the use of the liquid.

All evidence gathered has been sent off to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for lab analysis.

The fire marshal said they feel confident the person or persons responsible for this crime will be apprehended.

Cassia County Sheriff's Office continues to investigate this crime and the pipe bomb found nearby. They believe the two incidents are connected.

If you have any information on the arson, call 1-877-75-ARSON.

01/30/2018: The Cassia County Sheriff's Office tells KMVT they found the suspicious white truck after a pipe bomb was found at the front of a restaurant while a fire blazed through a Burley building.

According to authorities, they found the truck overnight Tuesday, unable to disclose the exact time. The sheriff's office could not say where the truck was found or who the vehicle belonged to as the investigation is still ongoing and are following multiple leads.

While the firefighters fought the fire, the Twin Falls Bomb Squad worked on the pipe bomb across the street.

"Our protocol is to make the device safe so that it could be handled and treated as evidence. We wanted to make sure that it didn't hurt anybody in the meantime," said Sgt. Ryan Howe, the Twin Falls Bomb Squad commander.

Howe said they also checked out the area, making sure there were no other devices.

"In this case, we believe we had plenty of time, so it wasn't 'hurry up and get it done now,' we wanted to make sure it was safe and we wanted to make sure we were doing it safely," he said of the pipe bomb.

He said they had to use caution with the device as the firefighters were still working on the fire.

"We wanted to make sure they were safe before we did anything, and we wanted them to have the fire out, at least enough, that we could do what we needed to do," he continued. "It was time sensitive, but we needed to move them out of the way before we did anything."

Rebecca Vargas, a business owner two doors down from where the bomb was said she was scared.

"I have family next door," Vargas said, telling KMVT that she has family living in the area behind the businesses.

Vargas owns a building a few doors down and she said there was damage to the building.

Vicky Asher also works a few doors down from the fire, and she said she was concerned for the neighborhood.

"It just makes you nervous and uneasy about coming to work now," she said of the incident.

Asher's daughter owns the business Straight Stitching, and her daughter told her the gas and power were shut off Monday. They were able to return to work Tuesday.

Burley Fire Department said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives took over the investigation and have some samples to analyze.

There was no other information provided from both departments as they are still actively investigating.

UPDATE: A fire destroyed an abandoned downtown Burley building early Monday morning, and crews found a pipe bomb attached to a business’s door across the street.

The Burley Fire Department responded to the blaze on the 1200 block of Overland Avenue at about 1 a.m.

"When we did arrive, we did have flames and smoke showing out the back doors," said Fire Chief Shannon Tolman.

The fire department also received help from other departments.

"After our initial attack and getting the ladder truck up, we called for mutual aid from Declo, Heyburn and West End," he said.

Authorities suspect arson is the cause and say the building is total loss and is not stable. Tolman said there were no injuries between the two incidents.

The State Fire Marshall along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting with the investigation.

Krista Nielson, a resident of Burley said she used to play card games in that building.

"It really scares me, actually, because something like that happening in this town... I grew up here," she said.

The Cassia County Sheriff's Office called the Twin Falls Police Department Bomb Unit for assistance in disabling the pipe bomb, doing so successfully in late morning.

Sheriff Jay Heward said they do not believe there's a continued threat to the public.

"We're investigating that right now to determine what that was, collecting evidence," said Heward.

Heward said he does believe the two incidents are connected.

"Since they're right across the street from one another in the same block," he explained.

According to Tolman, the owner of the restaurant where the pipe bomb was found recently bought the building that caught fire.

Authorities say Overland Avenue will remain closed until the fire department can ensure the building’s structural stability.

The sheriff's office say they are looking for suspicious vehicle that might be connected to the bomb. They believe the vehicle is a white Nissan four-wheel drive pickup truck.

If you have any information, contact the Cassia County Sheriff's Office at 208-878-2251 ext. 1.


Image courtesy Cassia County Sheriff's Office


 
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