Police: Brother-in-law admits to arson in BI

A 48-year-old Bainbridge Island man was in Superior Court July 20 charged with second-degree arson.

Bail was set at $50,000. If convicted he faces 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

A Bainbridge police incident report says around noon July 18 police were dispatched to the 200 block of Grow Avenue. The reporting party said a neighbor had told him that someone had tried to burn their house down. The man declined to have police or fire personnel involved because he didn’t think the brother-in-law meant to set the fire.

When police arrived, the man said he came home to see the suspect acting strangely in the yard. The suspect has struggled with mental health issues, but has refused treatment, the homeowner said. The suspect jumped the fence and left.

Inside the house, the man found fires set in the living room and bedroom. The man was trying to sell the condemned house, and the suspect, who lives there, may have set the fires out of spite, the homeowner said. Two small areas of rug were burned, and some lighter fluid was found next to one.

The brother-in-law came to the police department the next morning and turned himself in, saying he set the fires.