A Bellingham, Washington volunteer from District 10 was arraigned on December 21 at 9:30 A.M. for several counts of first degree arson and counts of second degree reckless burning.
Ira John English, 28, was arrested after admitting on December 16 to starting 11 separate fires whose origin had stumped authorities for years.
Law enforcement had difficulty linking English to the blazes since there was "no time rythm", and because the fires were started in unrelated and far apart locations, said Whatcom County Sheriff, Bill Elfo. He added that English only confessed to setting the blazes once confronted with incriminating evidence from detectives.
A spokesperson for the Whatcom County Prosecutor's Office has confirmed that a total of nine charges have been filed overall, with bail set at $1 million.
Nobody was harmed in any of the fires, according to Sherrif Elfo; however, people's safety was jeapordized as at least one of the fires came very close to a mobile home lot. The total cost of the damages has been estimated at over $300,000.
As to the other area firefighters, "The fire volunteers had no idea what was going on," asserted Elfo, who found the arson spree to be unfortunate since such incidents give firefighters unfairly negative reputations.
The Bellingham Herald of Washington has cited sources who attest English responded ably to all the fires he initiated, and assisted FEMA with hurricane relief efforts in the Gulf Coast last September.