Fire Destroys Sandpoint Army Surplus Store (UPDATE: Authorities Suspect Arson)

[UPDATED 7/8/24 8:45pm MDT]

After investigating surveillance footage, the Sandpoint Police Department has determined that the fire that destroyed the Army Surplus store the night of July 4 was deliberately caused. The Idaho State Fire Marshal is offering a $5,000 reward for information regarding the suspected arsonist.

The Bonner County Daily Bee posted an updated story along with this screenshot from a surveillance camera:

The Police Department has received several hours of surveillance video and, after examining the footage, an individual was observed walking east on Oak Street at about 10 p.m. and subsequently turning down the parking lot behind Army Surplus, police said. The individual then proceeded into the alleyway, stopping approximately halfway down, before approaching the south wall of Army Surplus. After a short period, a flame on the south wall is observed. The individual is observed stepping back from the flame before walking east to Fifth Ave and leaving south.

With the determination of arson as a likely cause of this fire, it is reasonable to ask if this was politically motivated terrorism against a Republican candidate for the Legislature.


Cornel Rasor, longtime Republican activist and recently nominated candidate for the House, managed the Army Surplus store in Sandpoint for more than four decades. He reported on Facebook last night that an errant bottle rocket somehow ignited the store, burning it to the ground over the course of the night.

Cornel Rasor on Facebook

The store, a Sandpoint icon, as well as all its contents are a total loss. Rasor nevertheless posted a positive message on Facebook early this morning:

Heading home. Thanks to all who are praying. We have a lot to be thankful for. Hard working first responders. Kind and thoughtful friends and wonderful family. I will do my best to respond to folks but be patient, I have and am very grateful for, a gazillion friends all who are reaching out. Thank you to all who were there and who wished they could be there. God has indeed blessed me.

Rasor is not asking for financial assistance, only prayers, however the Kootenai Community Church is collecting donations to assist him and his family during this time. Checks can be sent to “Kootenai Church” at 477 Main St. Kootenai, Idaho, 83840. Make sure to put “Cornel Rasor” on the subject line. Donations can be submitted online through this link, again making sure to select “Rasor Family Support Fund” from the dropdown menu.

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