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Montpelier man charged after allegedly setting fire to motel room

Bear Lake County Courthouse | Kalama Hines, EastIdahoNews.com

 

This story courtesy of EastIdahoNews.com. It is used here with permission – 

MONTPELIER — A man police say started a fire inside his motel room has been charged with a pair of felonies.

Kalama Hines, EastIdahoNews.com

Robert Jacob Amidan, 45, faces charges of first-degree arson and felony malicious injury to property, court records show.

Montpelier police received a call requesting a wellness check around 8 a.m. April 27, according to an affidavit of probable cause. The caller said they received a phone call from Amidan “threatening self-harm.”

Authorities went to a motel room where Amidan was staying. They saw a man they identified as Amdian through the room window. The man refused to open the door for officers, the affidavit says.

While getting a key from the manager’s office, officers saw smoke coming from Amidan’s room. They called the Montpelier Fire Department and Bear Lake County Ambulance to help.

A deadbolt on the door prevented them from unlocking the door. According to police reports, officers could see flames rising inside the room through the window so they evacuated nearby rooms.

EastIdahoNews.com

During this time, Amidan ignored requests to open the door and allegedly threw items through the window, breaking out the glass.

Through the broken window, officers used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire from outside.

Amidan then opened the room door and “fell to his knees,” the affidavit says.

Though he didn’t do what officers told him, the affidavit notes Amidan was not “aggressive” toward them. Eventually, officers forced him to the ground and handcuffed him.

Officers went back inside once Amidan was in the patrol vehicle and they discovered he’d pushed the furniture inside the room to start the fire. There was “about an inch” of standing water inside the room coming from a tub that had overflowed and filled with burnt items, court records say.

Officers also learned the items Amidan had thrown out the window were broken pieces of the room’s toilet.

EMS reported to police that Amidan told them he was “just playing boy scout” and that “it was fun.”

Amidan was taken to Bear Lake Memorial Hospital, where he was medically cleared and met with a mental health councilor. There, he told officers he wanted to be treated for mental health issues and that he was “sad the system” was “broke,” according to the affidavit.

He also made comments about training he was receiving from the “government” to fight fires and terrorism.

Officers spoke with the councilor after his meeting with Amidan. The councilor allegedly told officers he did not believe Amidan was “gravely disabled” and that Amidan knew what he was doing when he started the fire. The councilor also informed officers there were no open beds in the area for Amidan to receive mental health treatment, so he was taken to the Caribou County Jail.

If found guilty, Amidan could face up to 30 years in prison.

He is scheduled to appear in court before Magistrate Judge Todd Garbett for a preliminary hearing on Wednesday.

Though Amidan has been charged with these crimes, it does not necessarily mean he committed them. Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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