Hunt continues for serial arsonist

Hunt continues for serial arsonist

With nearly two dozen fires believed to be intentionally set in recent weeks, the hunt is on for a suspected arsonist in southeast Spokane County.

Almost all of the fires have happened in the Greenacres area, the most recent in a model home off Apollo Road. Twenty one of the 23 fires believed to be arson were small brush fires; the largest fire burned nearly eight acres and threatened several homes.

Residents say if these kinds of fires continue it’s just a matter of time before someone gets hurt.

For Greenacres resident Carolyn Staples, a night on the town turned into a nightmare.

“To get off the Interstate and look up and see three planes flying over our property and all that smoke was just very scary,” said Staples.

On September 18 Staples was planning to see Blake Shelton in Spokane when her UPS driver Jeff called her husband, telling him about a fire burning near their home. Jeff even asked if he could turn on their sprinklers just in case.

“I just can’t thank him enough for him being so consciences and caring,” said Staples.

Her attention immediately went from country music to her pets at home.

“Not being able to get up my driveway because of the flames crowning over my driveway was terrifying,” said Staples.

Fire investigators say the fire near Staples’ house was about eight acres and was the largest of 20 similar brush fires in the area all believed to be arson.

“We’re blessed that nobody has been injured yet but that’s just a matter of time,” said Staples

Just like many of the other fires in the Greenacres region this fire started a little ways off the road and burned within 50 yards of one home. Residents in the area say they’ve always been vigilant, living in a rural area, but now they have even more reason to be so.

“I’m sure that there’s been a run on surveillance systems in the area,” said Staples.

Spokane County fire crews are also keeping watch and long hours, responding to four more fires over the weekend. Investigators are asking for the public’s help to find the person or persons responsible. Residents not needing any more motivation.

“My message to the arsonist, you will be caught and justice will be served, I do believe that,” said Staples.

Fire officials say it’s very rare to see so many fires in a short period of time that is one reason they are so intent on finding who is responsible.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at 456-2233.