19-Year Old Table Rock Fire Suspect Pleads Guilty
As of September 8th, there were three different accounts of how the blaze that scorched 2,600 acres of the area surround Table Rock actually started. Now the 19-year old suspect in the case has admitted to his role in the fire.
According to KTVB, Taylor Kemp has plead guilty to shooting off roman candles in an area where fireworks were banned in Ada County. He maintains that the wind from an incoming storm knocked one of them over near the Table Rock gate around midnight on June 29th, setting off the blaze.
With the guilty plea, Kemp faces up to six months behind bars and a $1,000 fine. However, he may face additional restitution bills from both the City of Boise and Bureau of Land Management. Those bills come with a $150,000 and $250,000 price tag respectively.
On September 8th, Kemp told KTVB that Ada County Sheriff's deputies insisted he did it and told him to stop lying. At the time, the only thing he would admit was that he'd set off fireworks in the foothills in the days leading up to the fire, but not the night of June 29th. He believed that fingerprints found on the remnants of those 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.
He then turned around and told the Idaho Statesman that he and his friends didn't have fireworks at all. In their article, Kemp explains that they only had the small noisemakers that make a fireworks cracking sound when thrown on the ground. He again mentioned the home interview with ACSO deputies and alleged that detectives told him he would be arrested if he failed to write a letter of regret. Kemp told the Statesman's reporter he feared for his life.
Van Danielson lost the home he inherited from his parents in the fire. He didn't have insurance on the home and originally suggested that Kemp pay back the $200,000 in damages in the form of 160 hours of helping clean up the fire aftermath.