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Fire investigators have apprehended a juvenile teenage suspect in a string of recent area fires. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Spokane County Fire District 4 collaborated in the investigation into approximately nine suspicious wildfires last week.
Spokane County Fire District No. 4 and DNR crews responded at 7:43 p.m. to two wildfires near Mountainside Middle School on Day-Mt. Spokane Road on July 23. The fires were determined to be suspicious in nature by fire scene investigators.
The following day both agencies responded at 1:47 p.m. to two suspicious wildfires east of Colbert Elementary School at east Green Bluff Road. While firefighters were at the Colbert School's incident a new grass and brush fire was started near the Mountainside Middle School sewage plant.
Later on July 24, the agencies responded to a wildfire in the 6600 block of East Lowe Road at 4:20 p.m. The wildfire was determined to be suspicious. Less than an hour later, two additional suspicious wildfires were reported near Melody Court and North Yale Road.
DNR and Fire District 4 reviewed information collected by firefighters and fire investigators the previous days. The joint group developed a strategy for a further in-depth fire investigation led by DNR Law Enforcement Officer Allen Gallanger.
Joint agency investigators questioned a male juvenile about the fires on July 25 and were successful in obtaining a confession for all the fires. The confession along with the investigation reports will be turned over to the Spokane County Juvenile Prosecutor for action.
"This investigation was an excellent example of cooperation between agencies," said District 4 Fire Chief Ed Lewis. "Collaboration and a successful investigation assist in preventing a lot more damage and the possibility of loss of life."