August 26, 2011 in City

Arson blamed in two of three fires

By The Spokesman-Review
 
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Two arson-caused brush and timber fires kept Spokane-area firefighters busy in recent days, with a third fire reported in a garage on the South Hill early Thursday.

The latest fires follow a fatal apartment fire Sunday and two other serious apartment fires, one of which displaced 47 residents on Aug. 10.

Crews from the Spokane Fire Department and county District 9 fought a dangerous fire in forested property Wednesday night along a ridge line east of Indian Trail Road, just north of the city limits.

As firefighters arrived shortly after the 8:39 p.m. call, they heard multiple explosions and entered the property through gates. They found two vehicles burning at the end of a narrow trail.

The fire spread to less than an acre by the time crews got it under control.

The blaze was intentionally set, according to Spokane fire officials.

Spokane County sheriff’s Sgt. Dave Reagan said one of the cars, a Volkswagen Passat, was taken from a home in the North 12000 block of Hemlock Street on Aug. 20 or 21. The other vehicle, a 2010 Ford Escape, was taken from a home in the 600 block of East Lakeview on Aug. 19 or 20. Both were stolen from garages and both had their keys inside. Arson investigators are handling the case.

About 24 hours earlier, fire crews raced to the vicinity of Clarke Avenue and Government Way and found a slow-moving fire on another acre of property.

Kenneth K. Johnson, 47, was arrested for second-degree arson in connection with that fire. Officials said Johnson had been involved in a domestic ordeal that apparently led to the fire.

A third fire at 3:20 a.m. Thursday involved the loss of a detached garage and damage to a vehicle parked next to the garage at 807 E. 39th Ave. Firefighters spent two hours on that blaze.


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