It sounded like thunder. But there wasn't a storm cloud in sight over downtown Boise Tuesday night. Instead, a cloud of smoke billowed over Main and N. Sixth streets, where witnesses said they heard loud bangs that sounded like fireworks prior to a blaze breaking out, forcing the evacuation of the Reef bar and lounge at approximately 11:20 p.m.
“Luckily it’s kind of a dead night down at Sixth and Main. If this was a Friday night, it would be a whole different picture,” Boise Fire Department’s Tom Pawek told Boise Weekly.
Reef employees extinguished most of the fire that engulfed a patio thatch umbrella and equipment on top of the roof before firefighters arrived on the scene. The Boise Fire Department doused a bush fire across the street fromt he Reef, which was caused by falling embers from the rooftop.
Social media became an immediate platform of photos taken by passersby, drawing questions and concerns about bombs and explosions in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings.
“(Investigators) are examining the media of some of the stuff that went on and we’ll know a little more here shortly,” Pawek said. “As soon as we have a cause, we’ll be able to release that information.”
Law enforcement soon found evidence of what appeared to be illegal fireworks that had been set off.
Police are searching for four males, all wearing darker colored clothing who witnesses said appeared to be playing with fireworks prior to the fire. The four were last seen running west toward Capitol Blvd. and Front Street.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers at 208-343-COPS.