HAMILTON COUNTY – The Rotterdam man accused of rigging a Hamilton County hunting camp to explode had just been kicked out of the camp by others there, according to statements filed in the case.
The statements also include the accounts from the two men who discovered the scene. “I feel like my life was put in jeopardy,’ the statement from one read.
Irving J. Talavera, Jr., 40, of Rotterdam, was arrested March 21 and charged with second-degree attempted arson, a felony.
He is accused of filling the hunting camp building with propane, then attaching fireworks to the front door and door frame. The fireworks were rigged to create a spark when the door opened, state police have said.
State police have said Talavera and the owners of the camp were known to each other.
But in statements to state police investigators filed in court, the two witnesses who reported the incident to police identified Talavera as a previous member of the hunting camp that all were a part of. The members, however, had recently kicked Talavera out of the camp.
The removal of Talavera led the two men to go to the camp March 21 for the express purpose of changing the locks on the building, the statements read.
As they approached the building, however, the men could smell propane, they reported. One of the two then went behind the building to turn off the propane tank.
They waited about 20 minutes for the gas to clear and one of the men then kicked in the door, the statements read.
“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.”
That man also wrote that two family members of his had spoken to Talavera via Facetime and said they reported that Talavera had admitted to turning on the propane and leaving the “poppers” in the door, but “said he was only joking,” the man’s statement read.
Talavera turned himself in to police March 21. He was arraigned in Town of Hope Court and ordered held on $5,000 bail. He has since been released, officials said.
An attorney who represented Talavera at the arraignment, Sterling Goodspeed, declined to comment Wednesday, saying he didn’t believe it would be appropriate to comment at the early stage of the case.
Talavera is due back in court next week.