Investigators: Fire in downtown Parma was arson

Posted at 6:16 AM, Aug 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-31 07:07:33-04

The Idaho Fire Marshall says the fire Tuesday morning in downtown Parma was definitely arson and Idaho State Police say they're looking at the possibility teenagers may be responsible.  

Vandalism nearby led investigators to look for suspects on security cameras.

The fire at the JC Watson Company required the efforts of crews from eight different agencies to get the flames under control.

"For us, it was a large fire.  We have a minimal staff on hand 24/7," said Chief James Cook from the Parma Fire Department.  "The crews got here fast, we had a lot of fire, a lot of heat.  Really hard to get even any water on it because of the heat."

A huge stack of wooden onion bins went up in flames.  The heat also burned the timber holding up one side of an onion storage building which JC Watson officials say is now unusable at the most critical time of the onion harvest.  Damage estimates are close to $1 million.

The fire also blew out a transformer that shut down power to half the city.  Idaho Power crews had to replace several poles to restore power.

If you have any information about the fire please call police.