Brewster PD investigators determine kids cause of Vista Park blaze

This pile of debris adjacent to the northwest corner of a Little League concession building was identified by Brewster police investigators as the origin of a fire that damaged two buildings in the Vista Park Homes complex July 12.

The fire, deliberately started by several youngsters playing with a lighter, burned the shrubbery along the west side of the Vista Park Homes and spread to two buildings before firefighters brought the blaze under control.

BREWSTER – Police department fire investigators have concluded that youngsters playing with a lighter near the Vista Park Homes Apartments, at 509 S. Fourth Street, caused the fire that eventually destroyed two of the complex’s 13 buildings that left more than two dozen residents homeless, July 12.
A media release from Brewster Police Lieutenant, Kelly Hook said that a witness “identified several young juvenile males playing with a lighter and burning items near the concession stand just south of the apartment complex.”
Hook said three juvenile males identified as being at the scene were interviewed and confessed to burning paper near the fire’s origin.
“Because of the age of the juvenile males there were no arrests made at this time,” Hook wrote.
The case was referred to the Okanogan County Prosecutor for further review.
“Any charges will come from their office,” Hook wrote.The flames damaged the stand and ignited to a border of arborvitae and other screening vegetation as it spread to the residential buildings.
Fire units from Brewster, Bridgeport, Pateros, Okanogan, Malott, Omak and Methow responded to the call and quickly confined the blaze to two of the 13 buildings in Vista Park.    The Brewster Police Deparment and Public Works Department, Douglas County Sheriff’s office and Washington State Patrol managed traffic and street access
Residents displaced by the fire damage, who had no other place to go, took shelter at a Red Cross shelter set up at Brewster High School.
Earlier this year, the Brewster City Council approved the transfer of the 25-unit Vista Park Home complex, the city’s only Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) property, to the Okanogan County Housing Authority.
While the ownership transfer was approved at the council’s March 8 meeting, the actual paperwork had not yet been finalized at the time of the fire, said Brewster city clerk, Misty Ruiz.
“The buildings were fully insured,” Ruiz said.

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