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

Man found not guilty of setting dad’s house on fire last fall in north Spokane

Sept. 14, 2022 Updated Wed., Sept. 14, 2022 at 6:57 p.m.

A jury found a 37-year-old man not guilty of setting his father’s house on fire during a long standoff with a SWAT team last fall in north Spokane.

Brian N. Olson was found not guilty of first-degree arson and guilty of fourth-degree assault, resisting arrest and harassment (threats to kill) for the October incident.

Court documents allege Olson demanded his father repay him money he was owed, accused him of telling his mother that he was buying drugs, and then kicked his father in the left side of the face around 1:30 p.m. Oct. 20 inside his father’s residence.

Documents said the father, Eric Olson, left his house at 8116 N. Crestline St. after he was assaulted and then called 911.

Olson reportedly yelled at deputies through a closed door of the house that he did not do anything wrong and refused to come out.

They said Olson has an “extensive violent history” of assault, including assault with a firearm, according to documents.

A member of the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team saw smoke coming from the roof of the residence, documents said.

After several hours of unsuccessful communication with Olson, law enforcement left the scene without serving a search warrant and Brian Olson remained inside the home.

The SWAT team returned to the house at about 10:40 a.m. the next day to execute the search warrant.

Around noon, authorities used a key to open a door of the home and SWAT personnel noted the interior of the residence was thick with smoke, documents said. They did not see a fire.

Authorities breached the windows to a bedroom around 12:30 p.m. and the interior of the room appeared to be blackened and burned.

Documents said the severity of the charring indicated the materials inside the room had likely been smoldering and burning overnight.

At about 1 p.m., the charred bedroom began to smolder and smoke heavily and the fire reignited and started to spread.

Firefighters extinguished the flames and SWAT personnel located Olson hiding under debris on a bed in the basement of the home. Documents said Olson resisted arrest but was eventually taken into custody.

The documents said he has a history of threatening to burn residences and of making or attempting to make homemade explosive devices during interactions with law enforcement.

The jury started deliberations Wednesday morning and reached the verdict in the afternoon. Olson is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 29 by Superior Court Judge John Cooney.

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