Police arrest Spokane man for inn fire

REBECCA WHITE and CODY COTTIER

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Pullman police arrested a man on Wednesday in connection with the fire on Tuesday at the American Travel Inn after determining it was arson.

According to a news release from the Pullman Police Department, police arrested William John Young II, 39, while he was walking along State Route 195 near Rosalia at about noon.

Young, of Spokane, was arrested without incident on a Pullman warrant for first-degree arson and harassment and taken to the Whitman County Jail in Colfax. He invoked his right to remain silent when police attempted to interview him.

Pullman Police Cmdr. Chris Tennant said Young’s motive is unknown, though it appears he was heavily intoxicated, possibly with illegal hallucinogenic drugs.

“His reality may have been a little different than your and my reality,” Tennant said.

The fire, reported at 4:45 a.m. on Tuesday, caused an estimated $80,000 to $100,000 in damage. It burned two adjoining rooms on the second floor of the motel, said Pullman Assistant Fire Chief Ryan Scharnhorst.

Both guests, as well as Young, were employees of a Spokane construction firm in town for a roofing job, Tennant said. The two guests escaped unharmed and are cooperating with police in the investigation.

Reporting by Rebecca White and Cody Cottier

Editor’s note: This post has been updated to include new information.