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Friday, May 29, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Pair arrested after downtown Spokane arson

At least two people have fire-related injuries

The Spokesman-Review

A man and a woman taken into custody during a downtown blaze this morning are being charged with second-degree arson, Spokane fire officials said this afternoon.

Windy M. Garland, 22, was arrested as she fled from the scene of the fire reported about 9 a.m. at the boarded up two-story State Street Flats, 164 S. State St.

Steven Sypher, 26, was detained outside the House of Charity, about a block from the fire.

The arrests came as firefighters were mopping up the blaze.

Another woman burned her hand trying to escape the building, authorities said. A man also had smoke inhalation.

Police said seven people had sought shelter by breaking into the State Street Flats overnight Wednesday to stay out of the rain.

Police said the woman arson suspect became angry after learning a boyfriend was inside the building with someone else. Garland had been released from jail at 7:30 a.m., a little more than an hour before the fire was reported.

Spokane County Jail records indicate that Garland was booked on Sept. 29 in conjunction with a misdemeanor charge of criminal trespass and a community corrections order to hold her.

The seven who were in the building could face trespassing charges, police said. One other man was held at the scene as a witness.

Most or all of the seven people who had entered the building had been clients at the House of Charity, about a block to the northwest, said Dave Barrett, safety coordinator there.

Police and fire investigators were at the House of Charity interviewing those who escaped.

One of the seven suffered smoke inhalation but did not go to a hospital for treatment. He declined to talk about what happened.

The two-alarm blaze brought 11 fire rigs and three dozen firefighters to the scene. The fire was quickly controlled in a first-floor room in the southwest portion of the building, and did not spread to other parts of the structure, which had smoke damage, Williams said.

In September 2006, State Street Flats was operating as a 10-unit apartment when a fire ripped through it, displacing several residents. Four of the residents were taken to area hospitals, including two who jumped from second-floor windows to escape.

Fire Chief Bobby Williams said firefighters had to rescue residents from the building in that blaze.

Damage from 2006 had not been repaired and the building was ruled uninhabitable, fire officials said.

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