EMMETT -- Police say the fire that torched several parked police cars in Emmett was set intentionally.
A total of four marked vehicles were damaged in the fire, which was set early Wednesday morning behind Emmett City Hall.
Police say emergency crews quickly extinguished the fire, and no buildings were threatened. Idaho State Police is currently handling the arson investigation.
Emmett Police says the fire is considered an isolated incident. ISP spokesman Tim Marsano said the agency has a suspect "in mind," but declined to say whether that person was in custody. Emmett Police also declined to say whether anyone has been arrested or detained in connection with the case.
The suspect in the case has not been charged with arson, Marsano said Thursday.
“About 1 o'clock in the morning we heard some noises,” said Bob Buch.
Bob Buch lives right across the street from the Emmett Police Department.
“I walk out on the porch and I was like 'oh my God' there's four police cars on fire,” said Buch. “So I ran inside and got my wife and came outside and said 'wait I have to go grab my phone.'"
Buch shot video as the scene unfolded and firefighters arrived to extinguish the flames.
“My concern was there was going to be some kind of explosion with the gasoline in the trunks, but fortunately they got it put out in time,” said Buch.
Four of the 15 police cars the department has -- more than a quarter of their fleet – is now out of service as they've become part of an arson investigation.
‘We do have enough vehicles to be able to still continue the everyday operation without any problems, we'll be fine,” said Emmett Police Deputy Chief Steve Kunka.
Two of the fire-damaged vehicles were patrols care, the others were the department's only reserve vehicle and Citizen on Patrol car.
The Emmett Police Department has asked the Idaho State Police for help in this investigation.
“In this situation the city of Emmett is the victim, and we can't investigate our own case where we're the victim,” said Kunka.
‘What kind of a person would do something so crazy,” said Buch. “I mean it's just senseless to do stuff like that, it doesn't make any sense.”
Kunka says at this time he does not know if any of the four cars are salvageable, or if they'll have to be replaced. The police department is currently talking with their insurance company.
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