Four Teens Suspected of Starting the Roaring Lion Fire
We may finally have an answer to who started the Roaring Lion Fire. The Ravalli Republic is reporting that three Hamilton men, Tyler Johnson, Steven Banks and Cody Knez (all 18-years-old) and a 16-year-old female will face misdemeanor and possibly felony arson charges for allegedly failing to extinguish a campfire that eventually started the devastating fire that destroyed 16 homes, led to the fatal heart attack of one homeowner and cost over $11 million to fight.
"What the investigation is indicating now is that it was a campfire that was built by the suspects," said Ravalli County Undersheriff Steve Holton. "It was built in some native duff, and flammable materials, When those campers left the area, believing the fire was out, it crept around for several days before the weather conditions were right and it blew up on July 31st."
Though Roaring Fire is famous for its destruction, Holton says it also revealed the communities ability to come together.
"You know we had two big fires, and Roaring Lion was the worst by far this year," Holton said. "One thing about Ravalli County is our community always pulls together so well. Not just during the incident, during the crises, but the community is still pulling together to help the victims of that fire."
Holton says the four suspects are expected in court on November 1.