Man Arrested for Trying to Start Two Fires in Washington State

Man Arrested for Trying to Start Two Fires in Washington State
Cars drive on I-5 in front of a hazy Seattle skyline due to wildfire smoke in Seattle, Wash., Sept. 11, 2020. (Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber

Another person was arrested on the West coast on suspicion of arson after authorities said he tried to start two fires.

Andnick Andreas, 26, of Kelso, tried lighting fires twice in the town on Monday, according to a citation obtained by The Epoch Times.

Officers responded to a home after a witness reported seeing a dark skinned male light a tree on fire. Before officers arrived, the suspect fled.

The homeowner, Judith Sanchez, provided security footage of the incident, which showed the male light a fire.

A suspect wearing similar clothing was spotted. He tried to run from police but was caught.

Andreas admitted to setting the fires, according to the citation.

“I would like to thank our citizens for their help in this case. We were able to gain valuable information during this investigation from community members that helped us identify and capture Andnick before he was able to cause anymore damage,” Police Chief Darr Kirk said in a statement, adding, “These are difficult times for everyone and we are grateful for the support from our community.”

The case was being referred to the Cowlitz County Prosecutor’s Office for arson charges.

A woman who said she is Sanchez’s daughter posted the security footage on Facebook.

“My mom and daughter were put in danger today when some (excuse my language) [expletive] decided to light my moms tree on fire while my daughter and my mom were home,” Rayza Torres wrote.

She thanked police officers and firefighters for responding.

Kirk told The Daily News that Andreas was able to get one bush to ignite but people who live nearby rushed over and extinguished the flames.

Andreas didn’t say why he started the fires.

Kirk said “there is absolutely no reason to believe that this was motivated politically at all.”

Andreas pled not guilty. He was being held on $1,200 bond.

A mugshot wasn’t available.

Authorities recently said there is no connection between the raging wildfires in the West and Antifa, a far-left, anarcho-communist group that has lit fires in Portland, Oregon, over the summer.

At least half-a-dozen people have been arrested in California, Oregon, and Washington state this month on suspicion of arson, according to arrest records reviewed by The Epoch Times.

Portland officers arrested a 45-year-old man early Monday after he lit seven fires.
Among the other arrests: a 41-year-old man who allegedly started the Almeda Fire in Oregon, a 28-year-old man who allegedly committed arson in Washington state, and a 37-year-old woman who deliberately set fires in California.

Fires have consumed over 5 million acres in the West Coast, forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of families.

Jack Phillips contributed to this report.