Northwest Cable News
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.