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FEATURE NEWS

Arrest made in string of arson fires
in Kitsap County

August 10, 2018




The result of one of more than half a dozen arson fires set in 2017 and the first half of this year just west of Silverdale. Photo: Kitsap County Sheriff’s office.
Chronicle staff

(SILVERDALE, WA.) – The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office says an arrest has been made involving “a string of intentionally set fires in an area just west of Silverdale.”

Sheriff detectives arrested a 17-year-old boy around 2 pm Wednesday at his residence in Central Kitsap, according to a sheriff’s office statement. The teen was booked into Kitsap County Juvenile Detention Center on two counts of arson, 2nd degree.

“The investigation into this series of fires covered seven arson incidents,” said the statement. “Two that occurred in the fall of 2017 and five incidents during the period of July 18 - Aug. 2 of this year.

The suspect’s arrest came about as the result of a joint effort of several law enforcement agencies. Assisting the sheriff’s office was the Kitsap County Fire Marshal’s Office, a fire investigator from the Bremerton Fire Department and a special agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U. S. Department of Justice.

The fires were set in the general area of Old Frontier Road NW, between NW Gumtree Lane and NW Hosman Circle.

The arson incidents targeted or involved a shed, an abandoned Jaguar passenger car, a RV trailer, a wood fence gate and three brush fires.

No other suspects have been identified, according to the sheriff’s office.

According to a 1998 report by the US Fire Administration, arson is the number one cause of all fires (approximately 550,000 in 1994), and the second leading cause of residential fire deaths. Five hundred sixty-five fire deaths and 3,440 fire injuries in 1994 were attributed to arson.

The report also notes that, “Fifty-two percent of arson arrests include children under the age of eighteen. While national indicators of juvenile violent crime are suggesting that incidents such as murder and aggravated assault are on the decline, the incidence of juvenile arson continues to increase.”

The majority of those arrested for arson in 1994 were under 15. Using FBI statistics and National Incident Reporting System data, it is estimated that (as of 1998) there are at least 100,000 fires annually in the United States directly attributable to children and it is widely believed that this number is conservative due to the fact that many fires never come to the attention of the fire service.

Previous research indicated that as children get older, “Their firesetting tends to be directed away from their own homes and involves locations such as garbage dumpsters, barns, vacant buildings, grasslands, automobiles, and schools,” according to the US Fire Administration report.





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