An Idaho Falls man was arrested early Monday morning after he was caught fleeing a house that had twice been set on fire.
Jeremy Lee Baker, 18, had a propane torch in a backpack when he was stopped by an Idaho Falls Police Department officer. He denied starting a fire in the house.
According to the probable cause affidavit, the Idaho Falls Fire Department had responded to 110 W, Elva St. around 7:45 p.m. Sunday. The patrol officer who arrested Baker had been patrolling the area due to the suspicious nature of the fire. The house was not occupied, and did not have electricity or gas.
At around 1:45 a.m. Monday, the officer saw smoke coming from the house and responded. The affidavit states that as he approached the house he saw a man later identified as Baker inside.
Baker reportedly fled through the main room of the house when he saw the officer. He entered the backyard through the side door. The affidavit states Baker stopped when ordered to by the officer.
The probable cause affidavit states firefighters responded and told the officers the fire had started in the same location as the earlier fire. One of the firefighters said there were fresh burn marks on the wood in an upstairs bedroom consistent with the use of a propane torch.
A propane torch was found in a backpack Baker had with him when he was stopped.
Baker told the officers he had just been looking around inside the house when he noticed it was on fire and fled.
Baker claimed he had just left a friend’s residence when he decided to look at the abandoned house. He said they used the propane torch to smoke marijuana.
The officer noted in the affidavit the backpack with the torch was unzipped. Baker said he had carried it open. The officer noted the inside of the bag was dry, despite the fact that it had been raining.
Baker was charged with first-degree arson, punishable with up to 25 years in prison.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. July 10 in the Bonneville County Courthouse.