Port Orchard teen found guilty of setting Arnold’s fire

A Port Orchard teen was found guilty Monday of setting the fire that destroyed Arnold’s Home Furnishings last summer, according to the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office.

Deputy prosecutor Jule Gaffney said Superior Court Judge Leila Mills found the 17-year-old boy guilty Nov. 23, following a four-day trial last week.

Gaffney said the teen faces a sentence of 25 to 32 months in a Juvenile Rehabilitation Center, which she described as a campus-like setting that offers classes and job opportunities.

The sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 11 at 1:30 p.m. at the Kitsap County Courthouse, and Gaffney said she will reveal her sentencing recommendation at that time. Although the teen was tried as a juvenile, the trial was held in Superior Court.

Arnold’s, a 66,000-square foot building on Kitsap Way in Bremerton, went up in flames July 27.

More than 100 firefighters were called in to battle the blaze, making it “the largest Kitsap County fire in recent history,” according to Bremerton Police. Firefighters from as far away as Tacoma, Lakewood, University Place and Gig Harbor responded to the two-day fire fight.

Fifteen fire investigators, the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Bureau and a Seattle Fire Department K-9 sifted through the debris on scene for eight days.

Investigators determined Aug. 12 the fire, which caused $12 million in damage, was arson, according to Bremerton Police.

Three youths were reported to be skateboarding near the store the night of the fire, and on Sept. 10, the 17-year-old was arrested and charged with first-degree arson. At the time, investigators believed he broke a window and used a lighter and can of butane to ignite a couch inside the furniture store.

A day later, detectives arrested a 13-year-old Bremerton boy on the same charge, but he was released and not charged.

In late September, a third boy was arrested on suspicion of helping set the fire, but he was also released and not charged.

Central Kitsap Reporter staff writer Rachel Brant contributed to this report.

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