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Man charged with arson after fire destroys motorhome

Crime Watch

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IDAHO FALLS — A man has been charged with arson after a fire destroyed a motorhome.

The Idaho Falls Fire Department was called to the fire on Nov. 18 to 1808 Woodruff Avenue after an abandoned motorhome caught fire. According to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by EastIdahoNews.com, Tristen Combe, 21, who is homeless, was living in the RV, and witnesses and surveillance video spotted him running from the scene.

Combe is now charged with felony third-degree arson for allegedly causing the blaze, which destroyed the 1986 Chevy motorhome.

Idaho Falls Police investigated the fire and discovered one of Combe’s family members lived in an apartment on the property. In October, the owner of the storage units and apartment at the property discovered the relative had been letting Combe live with them. The property owner did not want Combe staying there and removed Combe’s items from the apartment, leaving them outside for him to pick up.

RELATED | Abandoned motorhome bursts into flames in Idaho Falls

Combe never collected the items but began staying inside the family member’s car on the property. At one point, court records indicate Combe started a fire inside the car once while trying to stay warm. Eventually, Combe moved into the camper that had been parked on the property for the past five years.

Motorhome Fire 3
Courtesy Mike Riggs

As the investigation unfolded, police learned Combe had been booked into the Bonneville County Jail on a probation violation warrant and other charges. An officer went to the jail to talk to Combe who said after being kicked out of the apartment, he eventually found shelter inside the motorhome.

Combe said he started a fire in the bathroom of the motorhome to stay warm. After stepping outside for a minute, he found the motorhome had caught fire. Combe said he tried to put out the flames, but he could not. Combe then ran and had his girlfriend pick him up.

“Combe told me that he didn’t mean to start the motorhome on fire and that it was just an accident,” the probable cause reads.

Combe said he did not have permission to stay in the motorhome. Officers could never get in contact with the owner on file.

Bonneville County prosecutors charged Combe on Tuesday, and he made an initial court appearance Thursday.

A preliminary hearing for Combe is scheduled for Feb. 9.

Although Combe is accused of a crime, it does not necessarily mean he committed it. Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

If convicted, Combe could be ordered to spend up to 10 years in prison.

Motorcoach fire
Courtesy Idaho Falls Fire Department
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