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Arson suspected in home fire

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By Dennis Box

The Courier-Herald

A 62-year-old Bonney Lake man was arrested after he allegedly set his house on fire early Friday morning.

The home was in the area of 70th Street East and Church Lake Drive.

The man was reported to be upset over the breakup of his marriage.

The incident began at 6:17 p.m. Thursday when Bonney Lake police officers served a “temporary order for protection” and “notice of hearing” on the man at the residence. The order was served without problems.

At about 12:30 a.m. Friday a neighbor noticed a vehicle drive into the area without lights. The neighbor called the police.

Officers responded, but could not find the vehicle. During a search of the area the officers found a loaded shotgun leaning against a hedge.

According to Sgt. Dana Hubbard, the department's spokesperson, officers thought they may have interrupted a burglary and began contacting nearby residences.

The officers went to the home of the man's daughter, who lives nearby. Hubbard said the daughter told the officers she was concerned about the safety of her mother because of the protection order being served.

The police officers went to the man's residence and found the house in shambles with clothes and curtains thrown into the middle of the room.

Hubbard said the officers also could smell a strong odor they suspected was gasoline.

“They backed out and called East Pierce Fire and Rescue to ventilate,” Hubbard said.

Prior to the firefighters' arrival the house burst into flames.

According to Assistant Chief Russ McCallion, 20 firefighters responded to the blaze, including members from the East Pierce and Sumner departments, along with volunteer firefighters.

McCallion said it took firefighters nearly five hours to extinguish the blaze and secure the scene, which was done successfully and without injury.

While fighting the fire, officers found the man hiding beneath some shrubs in the back yard. Officers found evidence he had started the house fire and he was arrested for arson, reckless endangerment, violation of a protection order and unlawful possession of a firearm.

The man is reported to have a felony record and was booked into the Pierce County jail.

Dennis Box can be reached at dbox@courierherald.com.

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