Spokane Valley fire investigators believe a man set fire to his home after assaulting his girlfriend Wednesday evening.
William C. Szabrowicz, 33, was arrested at the fire scene on suspicion of choking his girlfriend. A charge of first-degree arson was added Thursday afternoon.
Szabrowicz’s girlfriend called Spokane Valley Police about 9 p.m. Wednesday, said police spokesman Dave Reagan. She met police outside and reported that Szabrowicz had choked her almost to the point of passing out.
Reagan said several attempts were made to contact Szabrowicz at the home, 13503 E. 28th Ave., and by phone, but he could not be reached. Since the woman was out of the home, police decided to hand the matter to detectives and left the scene.
The girlfriend, 32, has lived at the residence since April, Reagan said.
At 12:45 a.m. Thursday, a passer-by reported smoke coming from the house. A police officer checked the home and did not see smoke coming from the home, Reagan said.
An hour later firefighters were called to the home after a neighbor reported that it was on fire.
When Spokane Valley firefighters arrived, flames were coming from the home’s basement windows, said Warren Kennett, Spokane Valley Fire Department battalion chief. The single-story home was destroyed by the fire. No injuries were reported.
Szabrowicz was reached by cell phone and told that his residence was on fire, Reagan said. After Szabrowicz reached the home by foot, he was arrested.
People moving items from the house Thursday evening declined to comment on the case.
Szabrowicz has been booked into jail on charges of third-degree assault and first-degree arson. Bond of the assault charge was set at $25,000.
The apparent arson is the second in the Spokane Valley in two weeks related to domestic disputes. James Dean “JD” Swearingen, 26, was booked into jail on a domestic violence-related arson charge in connection with a blaze that destroyed a home at 2609 N. Vista Road on Aug. 31.