Nearly two dozen suspicious fires that occurred in the Spokane Valley area over the past two weeks had local departments working overtime trying to find a suspected arsonist.
Turns out they didn’t have to look far: A 16-year-old boy, who lives in the area where the fires started, was arrested Tuesday night.
As of Wednesday, the total amount of fires – largely in brush, but in two instances homes were burned – had risen to 23. No one was injured, but the pattern of about two fires a day, ranging from early morning to late evening, was troubling investigators.
On Wednesday a joint arson task force formed by District 8, the Department of Natural Resources and the Spokane Valley Fire Department along with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office and Liberty Lake Police Department updated media on the case and announced that eyewitness accounts of a white four-door sedan seen near where the fires occurred proved to be a much-needed break.
“We didn’t have anybody specific we were looking for,” said Kevin Miller, Spokane Valley fire marshal.
He added that the juvenile – who was not named because of his age – was cooperative and providing information that makes investigators fairly certain they have the right suspect.
“We’re pretty confident he’s our guy,” Miller said.
The teen has been charged with multiple counts of arson, including the burning of two unoccupied homes. Investigators say they are cautious to reveal too many details at this time as they are still building their case.
On Sunday, a fire occurred at a house under construction in the area of Apollo and Daystar roads. That area, in the unincorporated area between Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake, is near where a similar incident occurred on Sept. 14. Brush fires have also been dealt with in the south Valley area, with the largest being a wildfire near Saltese Flats that threatened several homes on Sept. 18
Investigators are still asking for anyone with any information – or who potentially have security cameras that may have footage of suspicious activity – to call Crime Check at 456-2233 or Secret Witness at 327-5111.