A New York man has been charged with felony second-degree attempted arson for allegedly rigging the cabin of his former hunting camp to explode.
Irving J. Talavera Jr., 40, has been accused by state police of filling the cabin with propane gas and rigging a firework to light a spark when the door was opened. Talavera had been a member of the hunting camp to which the cabin belonged, but he had recently been kicked out of the camp, according to documents obtained by The Daily Gazette.
The owners of the camp discovered the trap when they went to the cabin to change the locks after giving Talavera the boot. Prior to opening the door, one of them smelled propane and went to the back of the cabin to turn off the gas valve. They waited about 20 minutes for the gas to clear before kicking in the door.
“I saw a half dollar sized spark in the top of the door when I kicked it open,” one statement read. “The spark was from the top right of the door on the inside.”
The other man described the sound as a “loud pop.”
Nothing happened after the fireworks went off, likely because the cabin had already been cleared of gas.
The men who discovered the trap also said that their family members had spoken to Talavera about the incident and he “said he was only joking,” according to their statements.
Talavera turned himself in to police on March 21. He was arraigned in Town of Hope Court and ordered held on $5,000 bail. He has since been released, officials said.
He is expected back in court this week.
Talavera’s alleged plan stood a good chance of success. According to fuel transportation company Crystal Flash, propane gas can be ignited by “the slightest spark.”
“With any gas leak, there is always the concern that the slightest ignition could start a fire or explosion. Once a gas leak has been confirmed, you’ll need to put out any open flames. Do NOT turn on light switches, household appliances, or even use your phone. The slightest spark could cause an explosion,” the company advises.
It’s unclear what prompted the deer camp owners to remove Talavera or what he hoped to gain by setting the cabin on fire.
Second-degree arson is the second highest arson charge under the New York Penal Code. It is brought against someone who sets a fire knowing another person is likely to be in the structure. If convicted, Talavera could face up to 25 years in prison.