Residents who lost homes face Sleepy Hollow fire suspect
WENATCHEE, Wash. — It burned nearly thirty homes and struck terror into the city of Wenatchee last summer and now a man is facing charges for starting the Sleepy Hollow Fire.
The storm of flames was so intense, burning embers blew from the neighborhood, landed on fruit warehouses, and burned them to the ground.
Jeremy Kendall, 37, is facing first degree arson charges.
One man whose home burned down says the community is surprised, and that learning of the charges has opened up the wounds that were created last summer.
“I don’t think any of us really expected anybody to be caught to be honest with you,” said Scott Marboe, whose home burned down in the fire.
Days after the Sleepy Hollow Fire, Marboe took KXLY on a tour around the rubble that was once his home. On Thursday, he learned police believe the fire was started intentionally.
“It reopened the wounds definitely yesterday, when everybody heard about it, it was like ‘oh goodness.'”
Court documents show Kendall admitted to investigators that he started the June 2015 fire, and told them the Department of Health was somehow transmitting voices to his head and controlling his body.
“If this is true, if this is what he really did, obviously it’s somebody who needs some serious help,” Marboe said.
Marboe said it has been a tough healing process since their home was destroyed.
“It’s been nice to have the support,” Marboe said, referring to the Wenatchee community. “We’ve run everywhere from anger to sadness to confusion to everything.”
Marboe and a few of his neighbors went to Kendall’s court appearance on Thursday. Marboe said it was surreal to put a face to the name of a man who allegedly changed the lives of so many families.
“Obviously there’s some anger involved and there’s some bitterness, but at the same time if somebody doesn’t have all their oars in the water, you have to take that into account,” he said.
Marboe says he will wait for the justice system to run its course, and hopes if Kendall did indeed start the fire, he is held responsible, but also receives the help he needs.