Second suspect arrested in Auburn arson fires

UPDATE 1/6/16 :  Auburn police have arrested a second suspect in the string of arson fires.  Commander Mike Hirman told Q13News that the second suspect, is a juvenile and a cousin to the first suspect.  Police believe that both cousins worked together and separately on several arsons.

Police believe that the second suspect, who is 16 years old, was involved in at least six intentionally set fire, two of which were occupied homes.


AUBURN -- There's been a major break in a series of arsons that terrorized a South King County neighborhood, as Auburn Police arrested a man on the heels of the three latest fires, which happened very early Thursday morning.

Charles Sargent is one of the victims. He woke up to a knock on his door and flames destroying his boat.

"I thought the whole boat was on fire," Sargent said. "It turns out it was just a seat. So, I ran inside and grabbed a bucket of water and I just threw it on there. It only took two buckets to put it out, but my mom called the fire department."

Auburn police believe that same man set fire to the back of a home down the street about 15 minutes later.

The family inside got out safely, but neighbors said they were shocked.

"It's scary though and we live in this community and it happened here and we don't know -it's not safe anywhere," said Satinder Kahlon.

A sigh of relief went through the neighborhood when Auburn Police arrested a man in his 20s who lives nearby.

"We’ve been monitoring him electronically, and when he did pop up as being connected to the two fires last night we thought it was time to bring him in," said Commander Mike Hirman with the Auburn Police Department.

They have been tracking him as a person of interest. There have been 28 suspicious fires since the fall and they believe he may be responsible for as many as 20.

"He essentially used in most cases accelerates that were already on scene," Hirman said. "Whether it was debris in a car port or in a backyard or a gas can that he found in a shed."

Police hope the arrest calms the community.

"It's kind of weird that it happened here," Sargent said. "I mean, it could have happened anywhere. So, I'm just glad it was the boat and not the house."

The suspect was interviewed by police on Thursday and will then be booked into jail. He will most likely make his first court appearance Friday.