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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Arson suspected in fire at historic Paulsen Building

UPDATED: Tue., Oct. 27, 2020

A smoke alarm alerted firefighters to a blaze they say someone intentionally set overnight at Anchored Art Tattoo in the historic Paulsen Building early Tuesday morning.

“The first company arrived quickly and they determined there was a working fire on the first floor,” Spokane Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said. “They forced entry and were able to put out the fire.”

Damage was limited to the tattoo shop, 421 W. Riverside Ave., which sustained “minor damage,” Schaeffer said.

“The smoke detectors picked it up quick, the firefighters responded and got it out quickly so the damage was contained to the area of origin,” he said.

As the smoke dissipated, investigators found a security camera in the building and reviewed the footage.

“There was a camera that identified a person actually setting the fire from the outside,” Schaeffer said. “We‘re considering it a criminal investigation now.”

Spokane Police Department officers located a suspect just a few hours later.

Charles Campbell, 32, was arrested and booked into Spokane County Jail for second-degree arson and an outstanding felony Department of Corrections warrant.

Campbell has prior felony convictions including second-degree burglary and theft of a motor vehicle, according to the Spokane Police Department.

Anchored Art was open Tuesday with a cleaning crew working to deal with the damage, said Camden Hopkins, shop apprentice who works the front desk.

“We’re still able to tattoo, we just moved a couple of things upstairs,” Hopkins said. “Things could have been a lot worse.”

The shop lost a window and some of the flooring in the front had to be removed, but none of the tattoo equipment was damaged, Hopkins said.

Anchored Art has been in business since 2011 and is home to 11 tattoo artists.

The Paulsen Building was completed in 1911 and held the record of tallest building in town for a time.

Hopkins said the tattoo artists are just keeping “positive mental attitudes,” since they can still work.

“We’re rockin’ and rollin’,” Hopkins said.

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