Joy Lake Road Arsonist Convicted
Found Guilty of Setting Two Blazes on Mt. Rose

Media Release
For Immediate Release

Contact: Kendall Holcomb
775-328-3223 (o)

A man accused of starting two wildfires on Joy Lake Road has been found guilty of all counts, following a 5-day jury trial. 44-year old Matthew Kimmens (dob 10/29/78) was convicted of five counts Arson, stemming from the 2022 incident that destroyed one home and caused damage to two others.

Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks said, “The recklessness and utter disregard for public safety exhibited by Kimmens was frightening. If not for the extraordinary suppression efforts by firefighters, this tragedy could have been far worse. Our sympathies continue for the victims of this case, and we look forward to seeking further justice at Kimmens’ sentencing hearing.”

On August 14th of last year, Kimmens and his girlfriend got into a domestic dispute. After the girlfriend left their apartment, the defendant called and texted her multiple times, demanding to know where she was. To keep the defendant from knowing her true location, the woman lied to Kimmens, telling him that she was staying at her father’s home on Joy Lake Road. Kimmens responded, “They better have marshmallows.” 

Shortly after the exchange, two fires were started on Joy Lake Road within 10 minutes of one another, one of which was near the girlfriend’s father’s home, and the other approximately 3/4-mile up the road. One witness told law enforcement that she was jogging in the area when she saw Kimmens standing next to the area where the second fire started and saw smoke rising.  She attempted to put it out with her water bottle before running to her nearby home to get a bucket. When she returned only minutes later, the defendant was gone and the fire was already raging. At the height of both fires, two helicopters, four airplanes, and more than a dozen fire engines were engaged in suppression efforts.

“We are exceptionally pleased with the outcome of all five guilty verdicts on arson-related charges in what was a complex case,” said Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District Deputy Chief Dale Way, who led the fire investigation component. “We want to thank the hard work of all our partner agencies who helped to ensure justice was brought to our community, particularly our community members who suffered physical and emotional hardships resulting from the Joy Lake Fires. Chiefly, we appreciate the hard work, cooperation, and collaboration from Chief Deputy District Attorney Matt Lee and Washoe County Sheriff Detective Todd Williams Jr. to see this arson case to a successful conclusion.”

Sentencing is set for December 18, 2023, with the Honorable Judge Kathleen Sigurdson presiding.

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