Crime

Bryan Teague of Peoria Accused of Starting 5,220-Acre "Mistake Peak Fire" With Propane Tank in Tonto National Forest

Putting a propane tank in a campfire turns out to be an even stupider idea than we thought.

After Bryan J. Teague of Peoria put a 16-ounce tank in a campfire on August 8 while on an off-roading trip in the Tonto National Forest, the predictable explosion sparked the 5,220-acre "Mistake Peak Fire," court documents state.

Investigators quickly figured out where the fire, which had started at about 6 p.m., originated. Later that same night, Teague, 56, was caught skulking in woods and questioned. He lied initially about the details of the incident, records state, but confessed a week later to kicking the propane tank in the fire ring, watching it explode, and leaving the site after the fire grew out of control.

The U.S. Forest Service filed a federal criminal complaint against Teague on Thursday, and he was arrested in Peoria on Friday, court records show.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern