‘Courage to come forward’

Auburn youth receives $2,000 award for helping authorities put a stop to serial arsonist

  • Sunday, March 4, 2018 9:30am
  • News

For the Reporter

A young member of the Auburn community recently was awarded $2,000 from the Arson Alarm Foundation during an award ceremony at the Valley Regional Fire Authority in Auburn.

The award was presented to the youth for helping law enforcement apprehend and convict a serial arsonist who set a string of fires in Auburn.

The arsonist was convicted of setting 10 fires over a span of several months that caused $2 million of damage to five homes, destroyed a restored Ford Model “A” and nearly took the lives of a retired pastor and his ailing wife, who narrowly escaped one of the fires.

The fires also stressed the resources of the Valley Regional Fire Authority and shook the Auburn community.

The Auburn youth, who wishes to remain anonymous, witnessed one of the fires and was able to give authorities a description of what the arsonist was wearing and a direction of travel, which helped detectives build a case to arrest and convict the arsonist, who was sentenced to just more nine years in prison.

“The award recipient provided key information in describing the suspect. It was this description that ultimately lead us to the arsonist,” said Deputy Fire Marshal John Monsebroten. “The recipient’s courage to come forward saved the Auburn community from further unease, loss of property and possible injury. We are very grateful.”

Arson is a deadly and costly crime. In 2015, nearly 23,000 deliberately-set fires killed 205 people and destroyed $534 million in insured property including factories, residential buildings, churches and motor vehicles, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

NW Insurance Council and Arson Alarm Foundation offer awards from its annual $10,000 award fund for Washington residents who provide tips to authorities that result in the arrest or conviction of arsonists. More than $100,000 has been awarded to Washington citizens over the past decade.

“Arsonists hurt all of us by destroying lives and property and by driving up insurance rates,” said Kenton Brine, NW Insurance Council president, “and arsonists are likely to strike again until they are caught. Citizens are encouraged to call the Arson Hotline whenever they believe they have information about suspicious fires.”

If you have information about an arson or suspicious fire, call the Arson Hotline at 800-55-ARSON (800-552-7766), submit an anonymous tip at arsonalarm.org, send an email to arsoninfo@arsonalarm.org or contact your local authorities.

Posters providing information about the Arson Alarm hotline and the award fund are available. To order, send an email to arsoninfo@arsonalarm.org or click here for a printable version.

For more information about arson, visit nwinsurance.org and arsonalarm.org.

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