Former WSU basketball star and NBA player Craig Ehlo was arrested early Thursday on a reckless burning domestic violence charge after having a fight with his wife and then setting a pile of his clothing on fire, damaging his garage.
Ehlo, 51, was booked into the Spokane County Jail at 7:36 a.m. Thursday on a charge of Reckless Burning 1st Degree Domestic Violence, a Class C Felony.
The incident started at 1:30 a.m. when Spokane County Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to the 3300 block of E. 77th Avenue for possible fight and fire call at a residence.
When deputies arrived they saw a 20 ft. diameter burn pile that contained Ehlo's clothing. As they approached they were waved to hurry by a female at the scene. They found two male subjects holding Ehlo down.
According to the sheriff's office, there was a fight at the home earlier in the evening involving people at the home and Ehlo. They later heard noises in the garage and observed Ehlo pile up his clothes outside the garage and lit them on fire, damaging the side of the garage.
An official from Spokane County Fire District 8 also confirmed a fire crew was dispatched to Ehlo's home on what was initially reported as a brush fire. When the crew arrived they found a "pile of personal effects on fire."
When the people went outside Ehlo started running and, believing he was intending to run and jump into the fire, they held him down and subdued him.
After they arrived, deputies detained Ehlo while they worked to determine what had happened. They found probable cause to hold him for reckless burning domestic violence, because he had set a fire which damaged the garage and because the fire had been preceded by an argument with his wife earlier in the evening.
Ehlo will remain in custody in the Spokane County Jail until Friday, when he makes his first court appearance.
Ehlo played basketball for Washington State University from 1981-1983 and was drafted by the Houston Rockets. He played 14 years in the NBA with the Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks and Seattle Sonics.
Since retiring from the NBA, Ehlo has coached at the high school level, worked as a television basketball analyst for the Seattle Sonics and Gonzaga Bulldogs.
He was also an assistant basketball coach at Eastern Washington University from 2011 up until July 11, when he resigned his position.
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