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Boise man charged with arson in connection to church fire

The man was arrested for arson and burglary in connection to a fire at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on South Maple Grove Road early Tuesday.

BOISE, Idaho —

A man from Boise is being charged with arson in connection with a fire at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on South Maple Grove Road early Tuesday. 

Ada County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) deputies and Boise Fire Department (BFD) responded to the fire shortly after midnight on Tuesday. When firefighters arrived, the fire was active on the first floor, but then moved into the attic as well. 

Crews were able to extinguish the fire, but the church still sustained significant fire damage. 

According to ACSO, a witness told deputies that they saw a man wearing a black sweatshirt leave the church just before the fire started. Deputies then began looking for the man, when another witness approached a deputy information that led them to find 22-year-old Joshua M. Blair in a truck near by. 

Blair was wearing a black sweatshirt and one of his hands was bleeding. Deputies determined that Blair injured his hand from breaking a window to get inside the church, according to ACSO. 

After interviewing Blair and locating evidence, ACSO determined that he started the fire intentionally. He was then arrested for first-degree arson and burglary in connection with the incident and booked into jail early Tuesday morning. ACSO said that Blair was charged for burglary because there was evidence that he broke into the church with the intent of starting the fire. 

According to ACSO, first-degree arson is punishable by up to 25 years in prison. 

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