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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Man faces arson charge in fire at home he shares

A man was arrested early Saturday on charges that he tried to set fire to the northwest Spokane home where he lives with his girlfriend and their two children.

Police say the man, Gregory Brimer, also is a suspect in two fires that caused severe damage to two garages in the same vicinity. No one was injured in any of the blazes.

“Investigators will be looking at any connection with any other arson fires we’ve had in recent history,” said Spokane Fire Battalion Chief Steve Sabo.

Brimer, 35, was booked into the Spokane County Jail on one count of attempted first-degree arson. He declined a jailhouse interview Saturday afternoon, but his girlfriend, Jessica Russell, said she doubts strongly that he is connected to any arson. The fire at Russell and Brimer’s home burned a box of junk but did not spread to the structure.

“He said he will take a lie detector test to prove it wasn’t him,” Russell said. “Being with him for so long, I just can’t imagine him doing anything like this, especially my home where I’m home with his kids.”

The first blaze in the string of arsons was reported about 10:05 p.m. Friday when firefighters were called to a detached two-story garage at 4327 W. Everett Ave., Sabo said. The structure is kitty-corner from a fire station, and a passer-by stopped there to report the flames.

Around 11:45 p.m., crews were dispatched to 5341 N. Driscoll Blvd., where a blaze gutted a garage and spread into an attached house.

Neighbors of the first two structures set ablaze said no one had been living at either property, but owners were renovating the residences.

Two hours after the Driscoll blaze, a fire was reported in a carport attached to a home at 5817 N. Greenwood Blvd. after someone witnessed a man at the scene, Sabo said.

A police dog later found Brimer in an alley a few blocks from the house, and he matched a description of the arsonist, said police spokesman Dick Cottam.

Russell said Brimer left their home about 7 p.m. Friday after they got into an argument and was caught by a police dog when he was on his way back home after he had been drinking.

“He’s never, ever been violent,” Russell said. “He’s just an awesome dad.”

Russell said her neighbors across the street saw the suspicious person and doused the flames. She said the neighbors, who know Brimer, gave a vague description of who they saw and did not indicate that the man they saw looked like Brimer.

No one at the neighbor’s home answered the door Saturday evening.