OLIVER MCKENNA | THE DAILY EVERGREEN
Police arrested a teenage girl Friday on multiple charges including first degree arson/domestic violence and two charges of first degree animal cruelty.
A fire occurred around 10 a.m. on May 21 at 1155 SE Professional Mall Boulevard Unit #306 and two animals died in the fire.
Pullman Police Cmdr. Chris Tennant said the name of the suspect will not be released because she is a minor. However, if the Whitman County Prosecutor’s Office charges the suspect as an adult, her name and information will be released to the public.
“This situation can be classified overall as a domestic situation,” Tennant said. “All the parties involved are familial or have some relationship with each other.”
Fire Chief Mike Heston said Pullman Fire Department responded to the call and upon arriving, firefighters found flames and smoke coming out from the front of the trailer. Heston said firefighters later identified the area as the kitchen.
He said firefighters entered the trailer and extinguished the fire and began to ventilate the area. It looked like the fire started inside the kitchen area, Heston said.
Heston said firefighters found two animals inside the trailer. He said firefighters attempted to revive the dog but were unsuccessful. Both cat and dog were declared deceased.
Tennant said the death of the two animals were directly caused by the fire, so the suspect was arrested on charges of first degree animal cruelty.
Heston said firefighters extinguished the fire quickly and prevented it from spreading to neighboring trailers.
Heston said firefighters cleared the scene around 12:30 p.m.
Darren Jones, WSU Fire and Safety Compliance Officer, said he was part of the regional Fire Investigation Task Force. He said the team consisted of investigators from the fire department, WSU police, and Pullman police.
He said the task force took witness statements, observed the behavior of the fire, collected evidence from the trailer and documented damage caused by the fire. He said there were multiple witnesses that day.
“Fires attract people,” he said.
Jones said significant damage was caused to the trailer.
“It’s not going to be habitable,” he said.
Tennant said after investigators found the ignition point, they ruled out all natural or normal occuring ignition points.
“It became fairly clear in a short amount of time we were possibly dealing with a caused fire,” he said.
Tony Nuttman, deputy fire marshal, said the event was ruled as an incendiary fire.
“It’s a fire that is in a building or a place where the person knows there should not be a fire,” Nuttman said. “That was determined through interviews and scene documentation that we did.”
He said the ruling of the fire was decided after the task force conducted an origin and cause investigation which lasted several days.
Tennant said Pullman residents are not in danger from any future arson situations from the alleged suspect.
“She did have an initial court appearance and bail was set,” he said. “I don’t know if she posted bail or not.”
The Daily Evergreen reached out to the Whitman County Prosecutor’s Office and they have not responded.