Friday Harbor community 'relieved' following arson arrest

People in Friday Harbor said they are relieved that an arrest was made for the fire that destroyed three historic buildings and several businesses just over a week ago.  

The community hopes to learn more in the days ahead about any possible motive there may have been for setting that fire. 

Deputies arrested Dwight Henline Saturday.  He will likely make his first court appearance this week.   Court records show that Henline has a history of interactions with law enforcement.  He pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in January 2022.  In the past, he's also had several other contacts with law enforcement, including being accused of criminal trespass, assault, obstruction of a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest and malicious mischief. 

Heading into the weekend, the San Juan Island Fire Chief said that investigators had been tracking several good leads on the fire.  By Saturday afternoon, the San Juan County Sheriff's Office said that authorities had identified Henline and issued an arrest warrant, asking for the public's help to find him.  About three hours later, deputies say they arrested him and took him to the Island County Jail at around 4:30 p.m.  

Authorities locate and arrest arson suspect tied to fire in downtown Friday Harbor

The suspect accused of intentionally starting the fire that tore through historic downtown Friday Harbor last week was arrested Saturday, according to the San Juan County Sheriff's Office (SJCSO).

"It was pretty tragic to know that that happens," said business owner Johannes Krieger. 

Krieger's Crystal Seas Kayaking office and gift shop was destroyed in the fire.  He told FOX 13 Sunday that he does not recognize Henline from any past encounters.  He said investigators also told him early on in the investigation that they didn't believe his businesses was purposely targeted. 

"I think that everybody has their situations in life that causes them to go down different paths, I just would hope that person has a way of getting better," said Krieger Friday.  

"It definitely seems like they threw a lot or all their resources at this," he said about the investigation.  "The community is breathing a sigh of relief."  

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