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November 10, 2013 at 10:37 AM
An Asa Mercer Middle School classroom in Seattle’s Beacon Hill was set on fire early Sunday morning after computers were stolen from the campus.
When the Seattle Fire Department responded to a 1:30 a.m. fire alarm in the 1600 block of South Columbian Way, firefighters found someone had forced their way into a portable classroom and set it on fire.
Seattle Police Department detectives believe computers were stolen from the classroom before it was set on fire by a suspect or suspects.
November 4, 2013 at 2:56 PM
The Associated Press
OREGON CITY, Ore. — Police in Oregon say a volunteer reserve officer has died after he was shot by an 88-year-old man they believe set fire to a house.
Authorities identified the officer as 41-year-old Robert Libke of the Oregon City Police Department.
Libke was part of a two-man team that was first to respond to reports that a man with a gun was outside a burning home on Sunday.
A SWAT team from the Clackamas County sheriff’s office killed the alleged gunman, identified Monday as Lawrence Cambra.
Investigators are trying to determine a motive but don’t believe the fire was set to lure police into an ambush.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
Police said Monday that they believe an 88-year-old man set fire to his house, shot a volunteer reserve police officer and then was killed by a SWAT team.
The injured officer, 41-year-old Robert Libke of the Oregon City Police Department, was taken to a Portland hospital after the confrontation on Sunday. Officials have not released information about his condition.
Police identified the suspected gunman as Lawrence Cambra, who was one of two residents of the burned home. A woman who also lives there was uninjured. (more…)
October 18, 2013 at 7:32 PM
A 21-year-old man who last year killed his 17-year-old ex-girlfriend and set fire to her suburban Renton home has been sentenced to 33 years in prison.
Jarod Thomas Lane was sentenced Friday afternoon after pleading guilty last month in the murder of Jessica Scholl and the arson of her family’s home in May 2012, according to King County prosecutors.
Firefighters found Scholl dead from stab wounds, blunt-force injuries and possible strangulation on the second floor of the home in the 12700 block of Southeast 164th Street in Renton.
It took detectives a few days to track down Lane after the killing; he left Washington and was seen by a news crew, who called police when they saw him walking on the side of the road, while they were covering the story in Oklahoma.
Scholl and Lane had dated for a couple of years, and he had seemed distraught over their recent breakup, authorities and friends said.
So many of her relatives and friends filled the courtroom Friday that more benches had to be brought in, the Associated Press reported.
Information from The Seattle Times’ archives and the Associated Press is included in this report.
October 10, 2013 at 2:46 PM
The Associated Press
PORTLAND — The woman at the center of a seven-year manhunt whose face graced wanted posters around the Pacific Northwest cast a smaller shadow Thursday on a slow walk to her defense table in a Portland federal courtroom.
Now a decade removed from her membership in the ecoterrorism group “The Family,” 40-year-old Rebecca Rubin stood slender and erect in her blue jail jumpsuit.
She then said the words she’s been dodging since authorities offered a $50,000 reward for her capture.
“Guilty,” she said, in a voice so soft a judge had to ask her to speak up.
It was the first of three admissions of guilt she made to arson and conspiracy charges, and with them, consented to give up at least five years of her freedom. She will be sentenced on Jan. 27.
Rubin’s plea was the latest admission of wrongdoing by members of “The Family” in a series of arsons across three Western states from 1996 to 2001 that did $40 million in damage.
Ten people pleaded guilty in 2007 to conspiracy and arson charges and were sentenced to prison. Two others indicted in the case remain at large. (more…)
September 23, 2013 at 11:52 AM
A fire that destroyed a Lynnwood-area house last week was arson, according to Snohomish County Fire District 1.
The fire erupted in a two-story house in the 1800 block of 204th Place Southwest in the Alderwood Manor area around 2:15 a.m. Wednesday, causing $250,000 damage, according to Leslie Hynes, public information officer for the fire deistrict. About a half-dozen people were able to escape from the burning home.
Investigators believe the arson was an isolated incident, Hynes said.
There is a reward of up to $10,000 from the Arson Alarm Foundation for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the fire, she said.
Investigators ask anyone with information on the fire to call 1-800-55-ARSON.
September 19, 2013 at 3:09 PM
A 21-year-old man pleaded guilty today to killing his former girlfriend and setting fire to her Renton home on May 25, 2012.
Jarod Lane pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and first-degree arson, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. He faces 25 to 33 years in prison when he is sentenced.
Firefighters responded at 7:54 a.m. to a two-story house in the 12700 block of Southeast 164th Street in Renton, where smoke was coming from the upper floor. Firefighters found the body of Jessica Scholl, 17, two minutes after they put out a fire in a couch and ottoman on the second floor. Firefighters discovered she had been stabbed.
Lane was arrested three days later in Oklahoma.
Friends said Lane and Scholl had dated for a couple of years and that Lane had seemed distraught over their breakup.
According to friends, Lane, who attended Renton Technical College, went to a Lindbergh High School prom with the victim in 2011, but the couple broke up on May 16, 2012. On his Facebook page, Lane had written that he had “fallen for a girl,” and that he “wouldn’t want it any other way for the rest of my life.”
September 4, 2013 at 9:49 PM
Everett police arson detectives are investigating a Wednesday afternoon house fire and searching for a suspect in the case, a news release said.
Residents of a house in the 1500 block of Walnut Street heard a “boom” around 12:45 p.m. and looked outside where they saw a small fire on the outside of their home and a man lying on the ground, the release said.
The man, described as white, between 25 and 30 years old, with short facial hair and a green jacket and blue jeans, got up and ran westbound, witnesses told police. A preliminary investigation suggested he may have used some sort of fuel to set the fire, the report said, which could account for the “boom.”
The residents and neighbors called 911, and firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze, but the house had moderate damage, the report said.
No injuries were reported in the incident. Anyone who might have information in relation to the case is asked to contact Everett police.
August 18, 2013 at 10:57 AM
Seattle firefighters quickly doused an intentionally-set fire that burned a shed outside Madrona Elementary School early Sunday, according to fire department spokeswoman Lt. Sue Stangl.
Someone driving by the school at 1121 33rd Ave. in Seattle’s Madrona neighborhood called 911 just after 12:30 a.m. to report the fire, Stangl said. Firefighters had the fire out in less than 10 minutes, she said.
Once the fire was determined to be arson, the case has been handed over to Seattle police, according to Stangl. The fire caused $2,500 in damage, with $1,000 to the exterior of the school, $1,000 in damage to the shed and $500 in damage to the contents of the shed, she said.
July 30, 2013 at 5:39 PM
Bail was set at $1 million Tuesday for a 38-year-old Shoreline man who is suspected of starting a fire inside a Sears department store earlier this month that has cost the retailer nearly $2 million in damage and lost business, according to the statement of probable cause outlining the police case against the man.
The man was arrested at the police station in Shoreline on Monday and booked into the King County Jail on investigation of first-degree arson, according to the statement and jail records.
The man is suspected of lighting mattress covers on fire in the home-fashions department at the Sears store in Shoreline on July 18, the statement says. While the fire “was held in check” when three overhead sprinklers were activated, smoke and water damage to the building, as well as lost business and merchandise “is approaching $2 million,” it says. It appears the man used cologne as an accelerant to start the fire.
Store security officers identified the arson suspect from store video surveillance footage and previous contacts in which he allegedly shoplifted “fragrances, CDs and DVDs,” the statement says. The day after the fire, a loss prevention officer reviewed footage and observed the man take two boxes of men’s fragrance and carry them into the home fashions department, and the fire started in that area several minutes later, it says.
Another employee later found the two discarded men’s fragrance boxes, hidden behind some bedding merchandise, while clearing out damaged stock, the statement says.
The man is developmentally disabled and “exhibits dangers patterns for firesetting,” says the statement, which notes that he “may not be suitable for general population” while in custody at the jail.
July 25, 2013 at 12:21 PM
The Associated Press
PULLMAN — A Pullman man charged with setting a fire that burned part of an apartment complex will be tried in federal court.
A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted Bryan Kitchen for burning down The Grove apartments in Pullman earlier this month, causing $13 million in damages.
KXLY-TV reported that Kitchen is charged with malicious use of fire to damage a property used in interstate commerce.
He has told investigators he was drunk and that voices in his head told him to start the fire on July 14.
He faces five to 20 years in prison if convicted.
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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