A Longview man was sentenced to almost two years in prison Tuesday after admitting to a lesser charge involving six deliberate fires set within less than a mile of each other over two months last summer. One fire required wildfire firefighters to extinguish.
Kevin Reid, 44, pleaded guilty to five counts of reckless burning for starting fires at different times between July 7 and Aug. 30 within the 3400 to 4600 blocks of Allen Street in Kelso.
He was originally charged with six counts of second-degree arson, but pleaded down to five counts of first-degree reckless burning. Both are felonies.
One count of second-degree arson was dropped.
Reid also pleaded guilty Tuesday in Cowlitz County Superior Court to crimes in six other cases, including attempting to elude police and possession of stolen property. Reid was sentenced to a total of 22 months in prison for all offenses.
Cowlitz County deputies arrested Reid in December after investigators linked him to the fires. A police document states investigators traced an ignited wooden shingle to an Allen Street business that uses the product and found all the fires were reported when Reid, an employee, took his 15-minute breaks or after his shifts. Cell phone data also showed he was near the fires when they were reported, the document says.
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Five of the fires occurred on one person’s forested property, which borders Weyerhaeuser timberland, and one occurred on a Cowlitz Public Utility District power pole, according to deputies. Investigators say a plastic container, located near the damaged pole after the Aug. 4 fire, contained gasoline.
An Aug. 30 fire off Allen Street was ruled as arson by a state investigation, the police report states, and was extinguished by Washington State Department of Natural Resources wildland firefighters and a helicopter releasing water.
A countywide burn ban was in place during the time of the fires due to dry conditions, police report.
Reid was in Cowlitz County Jail as of Wednesday afternoon.