Local News

Arson along Fish Lake Trail leaves some with safety concerns

SPOKANE, Wash. - Arson alongside Highway 195 has neighbors near the Fish Lake Trail concerned about transient activity in the area.

51-year-old Phillip Lewis was arrested on Sunday for sparking a series of fires between the highway and the trail.

Lewis was in court Tuesday to face a second degree arson charge for the fires he set.

Spokane Police say they don't know why Lewis set the fires, though he does have a criminal history of a similar natures.

They also say that he is a transient, camping in the woods near the trail.

That's what has neighbors in the area upset.

Aside from running alongside homes, the Fish Lake Trail is popular with cyclists, walkers, and runners.

Some neighbors say the wooded area is also popular for homeless camps.

Police say the issue isn't necessarily more prominent here than it is in other parts of Spokane, but it is still upsetting to those who live here.

“When they have an activity going on that borders their property, there is frustration that people aren't respecting their privacy and their land,” said Office John O'Brien.

Officer O'Brien said that officers from the downtown precinct have come out to Fish Lake trail on bicycles for reports of homeless camps.

He said he has yet to contact someone in an active camp, though they have come across remnants where the camps used to be.

Local fire crews were able to contain the fires quickly, but ask that everyone remember with the warmer temperatures, vegetation is drying out.

If you have information to share with Spokane Police, call Crime Check at 509-456-2233.