Hailey police and fire departments undertake joint investigation
A Blaine County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle received minor damage Monday night in east Hailey when someone apparently dumped an accelerant on the vehicle and lit it on fire.
The Hailey police and fire departments are investigating the incident as arson.
Hailey Fire Marshal Mike Baledge said the department was notified of the blaze at 8:40 p.m. but the fire had been extinguished by neighbors by the time firefighters arrived. He said the vehicle, a 2008 Dodge Durango SUV, was parked at a sheriff’s deputy’s home on Aspen Valley Drive.
“From what it looks like, some type of accelerant was poured on the vehicle and lit on fire,” Baledge said. “It looks like they ran it up and down the side and back and lit it and ran. There was a pretty strong smell of petroleum. We’re not sure what the accelerant was, but we’re going to run some tests.”
Baledge said the fire did not spread to the side of the vehicle and was confined to the rear end. He said “minor damage” was caused to the rear bumper and a taillight assembly.
“Preliminary results are now that it was arson,” said Hailey Police Chief Jeff Gunter. “There’s no other reason to dump an accelerant on a vehicle and light it.
“We’re putting a full-court press on this. We started last night and canvassed the neighborhood for possible suspects.
“We’re taking this seriously. Even though the damage was minor, the intent to do serious damage was there. This is not a prank at all.”