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Boise Man Admits Roman Candle Sparked Massive Table Rock Fire

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The 2,500-acre Table Rock fire, sparked in the Wild Horse subdivision, ripped down the Boise Foothills toward the Warm Springs Mesa and Harris Ranch subdivisions. - BOISE FIRE DEPARTMENT
  • Boise Fire Department
  • The 2,500-acre Table Rock fire, sparked in the Wild Horse subdivision, ripped down the Boise Foothills toward the Warm Springs Mesa and Harris Ranch subdivisions.
A Boise man admitted Wednesday morning that he was responsible for the June 2016 Table Rock Fire, which lit up the Boise Foothills, scorched more than 2,500 acres, destroyed a home and put hundreds of residents in jeopardy.

"It was a Roman candle," Taylor Kemp, 19, told an Ada County courtroom before pleading guilty to violating Ada County's fireworks ordinance.

Kemp was cited for sparking the blaze in September 2016 but maintained his innocence. The Feb. 22 guilty plea came on the same day Kemp had been scheduled to go on trial in the case.

The fire started near the Wild Horse subdivision north of Table Rock and ran past the iconic Table Rock cross, down the foothills and toward Warm Springs Avenue. In the days following the blaze, investigators determined fireworks had sparked the fire. That inspired Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan to advocate for closing a loophole in state law that allows the sale of illegal fireworks in Idaho. The Idaho House State Affairs Committee voted against the proposal earlier this month. Doan said he was "outraged" over the panel's decision not to even allow a public hearing on the measure.

When Kemp is sentenced, he faces a possible punishment of up to six months behind bars and a $1,000 fine. There will also be a restitution hearing, which will determine how much Kemp will have to pay public agencies for the fire's toll. It was estimated the Boise Fire Department and Bureau of Land Management spent more than $300,000 to fight the fire. Meanwhile, the home that was destroyed in the fire amounted to more than a $200,000 loss.


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