State Fire Marshal Knute Sandahl is asking for the public’s help in solving an arson that leveled five businesses on Idaho City’s beloved boardwalk — and left an eyesore on Main Street.
Anyone with information is asked to call the fire marshal’s arson reporting hotline at 877-752-7766. A $5,000 reward is also being offered for information leading to the arrest of the person or people who set the blaze.
“It’s been four months since the fire, and the information getting filtered to (Idaho State Police) has really slowed down,” said Sandahl, who met with the media after joining Smokey Bear at a fire prevention presentation at a local school. “We want to catch the responsible person or persons.”
Sandahl said tipsters may still leave anonymous messages on the arson reporting hotline, but a call-back number is being requested so that authorities can follow up with any questions.
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The blackened remnants of the boardwalk buildings will be removed soon, according to Toni Barrett, who co-owns the structure with her husband, Randy. She said the removal will cost tens of thousands of dollars, and they have only just received money from the insurance company. They’ve taken bids for the removal and expect it to happen the week of Oct. 19.
“We didn’t have the money to do it (sooner),” Toni Barrett said. The couple was barraged with complaints and even a threat of criminal charges, she said.
Sandahl said investigators determined the fire was set intentionally at the restaurant Calamity Jayne’s and spread from there. He said accelerant was found on the porch outside the restaurant. He declined to say whether the fire started inside or outside.
It’s unclear whether investigators have identified any suspects.
An Idaho State Police spokeswoman said the Boise County Prosecutor’s Office is handling the release of all information. Prosecutor Jolene Maloney could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.
The five businesses affected by the fire were Calamity Jayne’s, Sarsaparilla Ice Cream Parlor, Main Street Floral and Candle Shop, Old Time Photo and Idaho City Trading Post.
At least three of those businesses have reopened: Sarsaparilla Ice Cream Parlor and Gift set up shop at the old Shady Lady building at 101 Montgomery St.; Old Time Photo and Studio is sharing that same Shady Lady building.; and Idaho City Trading Post moved a block up Main Street from its old location.
Reporter Erin Fenner contributed to this story.