Woman arrested for starting fires while crews worked to fix fallen power lines

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SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Police arrested a woman for allegedly starting fires in East Spokane while crews were trying to fix fallen power lines and put out electrical fires on Monday.

An officer was responding to a fire call by Magnolia and Riverside; there had been several fallen power lines that day, so he went to investigate.

Instead, he found grass and a pallet on fire outside of a business, with no way it could have started outside of arson, according to Police. A few blocks away, the same officer spotted another fire in an alleyway, next to an old oil drum by a garage and some trees.

The officer called the Fire Department in, who put out those flames.

Given the nature of these fires, the officer called in more units to help investigate. Witnesses told police they saw a woman leaving the locations of both fires, and their description of her was the same.

Officers eventually identified 36-year-old Christine Comello, who lied to police about her name. Comello had a felony warrant for burglary and reckless burning, tied to another incident a few weeks prior where she reportedly started fires at a Spokane Valley business.

Comello was identified in surveillance video and confirmed to be the suspect by witnesses, and a lighter and burnt paper was found in her pocket.

Comello was booked into the Spokane County Jail for first-degree arson, second-degree arson and burglary.