With help from local residents and security camera footage, Kelso police Monday arrested a local man suspected of setting two fires in the city earlier that day.
Andnick Andreas, 26, allegedly tried to light bushes and trees on fire at two separate locations in the area around Sixth Avenue and Cedar Street in Kelso, said Police Chief Darr Kirk.
“He actually got one bush to ignite and burn somewhat. Some neighbors came out to help put it out ... and he fled the scene,” Kirk said.
Local firefighters also responded to the scene of the fires to extinguish the blaze.
Police spoke with witnesses who saw Andreas set the fire, and they used security footage to confirm his identity, Kirk said. Officers then searched the area for “a couple of hours” but were unable to find Andreas, he said.
A call from a Kelso resident later in the day “tipped us off” that Andreas was seen in the area of Fifth Street and Ash, where police located him, Kirk said.
“We had great help from out community to plan out where he had gone, and we ended up finding him.”
Andreas tried to run from police before officers arrested him, Kirk said. He was booked in the Cowlitz County Jail around 5:15 p.m. on charges of second-degree arson and obstructing police officers.
His bail is set at $1,200, according to jail records.
“I would like to thank our citizens for their help in this case,” Kirk wrote in a Facebook post about the arrest. “We were able to gain valuable information during this investigation from community members that helped us identify and capture Andnick before he was able to cause any more damage.”
In a phone call with TDN, Kirk said that Andreas did not tell police why he started the fires, but “there is absolutely no reason to believe that this was motivated politically at all.”