Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pullman's Morning of Flames

If you have a story about today's fires in Pullman, please post in the comments below. I'm sure Scotty was in the thick of things. And it was April's car that was set on fire behind Pullman Honda.

Coverage from:

Northwest Cable News
Seattle Times

And from today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
Arson suspected in string of Pullman fires; Blazes destroy nine-unit apartment complex, duplex, detached garage and several vehicles

Police and fire officials say arson is suspected in five fires that occurred early this morning in Pullman.

"These are all suspicious, and I would consider them all related," said Mike Heston, operations officer with the Pullman Fire Department.

Fire crews first responded at 4:31 a.m. to a fire in the 500 block of Southeast Jackson Street, where a detached garage was engulfed in flames. The garage and the two cars that were inside it are considered a total loss, Fire Chief Pat Wilkins said.

While on Jackson Street, crews responded to another garage fire, which was contained to a cabinet and did little damage, Wilkins said.

At 5:13 a.m., crews were called to an apartment fire at 129 NW True St. The nine-unit complex was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived, Heston said. Crews from Whitman County Rural Fire District 12, Colfax and Moscow arrived to help fight the fires. Pullman police officers provided security while firefighters doused the flames, which spread to a neighboring duplex at 133 NW True St., and ignited several vehicles.

A resident in the nine-unit complex was trapped inside the burning structure and "ran and bailed out" of a top-floor window, Heston said. The man landed on top of a 15-foot retaining wall. He suffered a singed airway due to the hot gasses and was covered in cuts from the glass. The man was in stable condition and airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for treatment, Wilkins said.

While at the True Street fires, crews were called to a fire on Mackenzie Street where a vehicle - located in a parking lot behind Pullman Honda - was engulfed in flames.Pullman Police Cmdr. Chris Tennant said he has received a report of a white male with brown hair wearing a red jacket "looking suspicious" in the area around the time of the vehicle fire.

"It's a pretty (vague) description," he said.

As of 9 a.m. today, crews were working to clean up the scenes and awaiting the arrival of investigators from the Washington Region 8 Arson Task Force who will help determine the cause of the fires. Heston said that since no evidence - such as gas cans - have been found at the fire scenes, he was reluctant to call the fires arson-caused.

"I'll let the investigators determine that," he said.

Heston said his crews also are prepared to fight more fires today, if necessary. The Pullman Fire Department has investigated arson in the past, but "nothing to this magnitude," he said.


April E. Coggins said...

Thankfully, we only lost a vehicle. Others have lost so much more. God truly helped us today. We are grateful for good friends and concerned neighbors. Evan Ellis of KQQQ radio was the first to report our fire. I don't want to think about the consequences if he had not reported as he did. As far as we are concerned, Evan Ellis is why our building is still standing and why I am still able to type these words. Thank you, Evan.

We had two Pullman City Councilmen stop by to check on us and express their concern. Bill Paul and Al Sorensen both came by to check on our needs and to see if we were okay. That meant a lot to us. Even though Al may have lost the position, he gets high props from me for being a good neighbor and friend.

Tom Forbes said...

Thank God indeed. In the time between the initial phone call report we got of explosions and fire at Pullman Honda and your phone call that you were okay, Susan and I were very worried about you and Russ.

Pullman is indeed a great town. And I hope they catch the firebug scumbag(s) that set these fires and roast his chestnuts. He is damn lucky he isn't facing a murder rap in addition to all the arson charges.

April E. Coggins said...

The arsonist(s) meant to kill people. Make no mistake about that. The person(s) intentionally set deadly fires while the victims were asleep in their beds. I think/hope we were random targets and most of the others were also random. One of us was likely the target. It seems too well done to be a drunken spree. Although, I prefer the drunken random spree scenario.

Michael said...

I don't normally keep a loaded handgun easily accessible, preferring to keep them in my gun safe. But since yesterday morning, I've kept loaded heat close at hand at all times when I'm home.

When I got home from work yesterday evening, I was feeling somewhat forgiving and generous, so I replaced the hollow points in my pistol with fmj. But after reading April's comments, I'm thinking that, given the chance, I'd like to spare the taxpayers the expense of a trial.

It's back to hollow points.

Satanic Mechanic said...

I am glad you and your husband are all right. I am also glad that your business did not get torched. Michael is right, this arsonist should not get a trial, he committed an act of terrorism.
I know what you guys are going through. When I moved to Pullman in 99', I made the biggest mistake by renting a house on college hill. I lost thousands of dollars due to multiple acts of car vandalism.
Do you have cameras around your store?