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Authorities investigating fire attacks at West Central home

By Jeff Humphrey, KXLY4 Reporter , jeffhu@kxly.com
Published On: Nov 05 2012 08:56:27 PM CST
West Central fire investigation
SPOKANE, Wash. -

A West Central Spokane family feels they are under attack in the wake of a series of deliberately-set fires at their home.

Monday morning fire crews responded to the residence, located near the intersection of Elm and Gardner, after someone threw a burning towel inside their back door while many of them were sleeping.

It's the second time in less than a week that someone's tried to burn down this house. Monday morning the arsonist set the fire at the bottom of the interior staircase that leads up to the second floor.

"The fire would have prevented them from exiting from the stairs and the door because of its location, so really all of the kids, the family that was sleeping upstairs, they had one way out and that was that second floor window," Spokane Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said.

Fortunately a resident was able to put out the burning towel before the fire could spread.

Last Saturday someone tried torching the place with a Molotov cocktail.

"There was another fire on November 3rd, that included an incendiary device, which did not go past the liquid that was contained in the device itself," Schaeffer explained.

The residents say they were told by police not to discuss the case with the news media, but these ongoing incidents of harassment have also included some racial undertones and so Monday the Joint Terrorism Task Force joined the investigation to make sure the attempted arsons are not also hate crimes.

"It certainly has been escalating and certainly there is a cause for alarm," Spokane Police Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said. "I can't go into the details as far as any specific threats or specific evidence but there certainly has been indications of perhaps a racial bias."

Assistant Chief Schaeffer said hate crime or not he's very concerned about an arsonist trying to set this home on fire when the people inside are sleeping including children.

That's why Monday morning the firefighters from nearby Fire Station 3 installed some smoke detectors inside the home while the authorities continue their search to find who is responsible for these deliberately set fires.

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