Suspected Arson Fire Damages Hailey Counseling Center

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By Paul Johnson

Hailey, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) - Three fire departments responded to a structure fire in Hailey late Tuesday night that damaged the Wood River Counseling Center. The business is located at the corner of Walnut and 2nd Street. Hailey Fire Chief Craig Aberbach said that the first department responded to the scene at 10:50 pm Tuesday.

Fire crews from the Wood River and Bellevue fire departments also responded to the fire. Crews remained on scene until about 2:30 am Wednesday. The fire originated in the main lobby area of the structure. The flames were contained in that area, the chief said, but the rest of the building sustained heavy smoke damage. Fire crews thought from the beginning that the fire appeared suspicious. Chief Aberbach, said he suspects someone was in the building when the fire began and that there was clear patterns that an accelerant that had been used.

The Chief added that it was fortunate that two of the three fire departments were very close to the structure. It made for very quick response time.

The Hailey Police department kept the scene secure until fire investigators and the State Fire Marshall investigated. They would agree with the initial findings that the fire appeared to be intentionally set.

Hailey Police Chief Jeff Gunter said they made an arrest charging a Hailey resident with First Degree Arson and Burglary. Evan P. Puluti, 22, was arrested around 1pm Wednesday. His arraignment is at 1pm Thursday in a Blaine County Magistrate Courtroom.


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