Tips pour in on arson investigation

Tips pour in on arson investigation

Firefighters have had a two day break from a string of suspected arson cases but that doesn’t mean a break in the investigation as they search for the person responsible for setting 23 fires across Spokane County in the last several weeks.

Fire officials say that they’ve received about a dozen tips from the public on a possible car, people have called tips into Crime Check and a homeowner turned in surveillance video of cars in the area during the time of a recent fire.

“We’ve got a few different tips that are leading us to different individuals that we’re trying to clean up. So we don’t have any listed suspects quite yet,” Spokane Valley Fire Marshal Kevin Miller said.

The start of the string of fires goes back to Sept. 13, usually happening twice a day in the late afternoon and early evening. All 23 fires have been set south of I-90; 21 were brush fires while two were set inside model homes, a trend Miller said is pretty rare for our area.

“We’ve had a few fires that we’ve attributed to an arsonist that was short in duration, a couple of three times in row, but nothing like this,” he said.

Miller has dealt with a serial arsonist in Spokane before. In 2003 Spokane Valley was hit by a rash of fires. Larry Harrison was named the prime suspect

“We had some fires we knew was him but just didn’t have enough evidence to convince the prosecutor to charge him,” Miller said.

Harrison was eventually found leaving the scene of a fire and charged with arson. Miller is hoping for the same results with these incidents.

“We’ll catch him. If he keeps doing it, we’ll catch him,” Miller said.

Fire officials aren’t ruling out that there could be multiple suspects; they say if it is more than one person they’re sticking together.

If you have any information on any of the recent fires, you’re asked to call Crime Check at 456-2233.