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, send an email to 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 or click here for a printable version.
For more information about arson, visit and

‘Courage to come forward’ | Auburn Reporter 3/5