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

Suspect in St. Charles arson indicted on federal charge

UPDATED: Thu., May 6, 2021

Investigators leave the scene of a fire at St. Charles Catholic School in this photo from March 18, 2021. A suspect, Rio Antonio Mirabal, was indicted on a federal charge Wednesday in connection with the fire.  (Dan Pelle/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Investigators leave the scene of a fire at St. Charles Catholic School in this photo from March 18, 2021. A suspect, Rio Antonio Mirabal, was indicted on a federal charge Wednesday in connection with the fire. (Dan Pelle/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

The 22-year-old man accused of setting fire to the St. Charles Catholic School in Spokane had been indicted by a federal grand jury on an arson charge carrying a five-year minimum sentence.

Rio Antonio Mirabal faces a single count of malicious damage caused by fire to a building, handed down by a grand jury in Spokane on Wednesday. Mirabal is being held in Spokane County Jail in lieu of a $350,000 bond on state arson and malicious mischief charges.

The school in northwest Spokane was extensively damaged by a fire March 18. Students have been attending classes at the old Jefferson Elementary School, made available by Spokane Public Schools, while the St. Charles building is renovated.

The Rev. Esteban Soler was asleep in the building when it caught fire. He was alerted to the blaze by a police officer and escaped unharmed.

Mirabal was identified by surveillance footage, as well as physical evidence at the scene, according to police.

No court date has been set in U.S. District Court .

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