Spokane Dog Helps Fire Investigators In Wenatchee - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane Dog Helps Fire Investigators In Wenatchee

WENATCHEE, Wash. – Authorities believe the fire that killed two boys in Wenatchee week was intentionally set. 

A dog from Spokane Valley helped investigators locate multiple spots where it is believed accelerants were spilled.  Investigators are now testing samples at a laboratory to confirm whether the spots are flammable and if so, what kind.

Mako, a 2-year-old Labrador, went to Wenatchee on Friday with his handler, Assistant Fire Marshal Rick Freier.  Mako is one of only two dogs in eastern Washington trained to sniff accelerants such as gasoline, kerosene or paint thinner.

Freier said the dog located spots inside and outside the home where accelerant could have been spilled, leading some to believe the fire was intentionally set.

"It would be consistent with an intentional fire," said Freier who reiterated lab tests are still being conducted.

A news release from the Wenatchee Police Department says authorities believe the fire was gang related.

"Although the victims in the home at the time of the fire were not gang members, there are members of a local Hispanic gang who do reside at the residence," wrote Detective Sgt. John Kruse at the Wenatchee Police Department.

Investigators are asking neighbors in the 600 block of Palouse street to review any video footage from security cameras and contact authorities if they see anything suspicious.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE:

UPDATED PRESS RELEASE: The house fire at 620 Palouse Street in Wenatchee that claimed the lives of a two young boys has been preliminarily ruled as an intentionally set fire.

That's the finding of a group of fire investigators from the Wenatchee Police Department, Chelan and Douglas County Fire Districts and from a Certified Fire Investigator with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms who surveyed the scene of the August 4TH fire over the last two days. 

Investigators from these agencies and the Wenatchee Police Department were assisted by a trained dog from the Spokane Valley Fire Department trained to sniff for accelerants that can be used to start fires. 

A final determination as to the fire's cause will likely be made in the next two weeks after samples taken from the home are examined by the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab.

Police are following up on several tips, and believe the incident may be gang related. 

Although the victims in the home at the time of the fire were not gang members, there are members of a local Hispanic gang who do reside at the residence. 

The home has also been the target of gang violence in the past.

No funeral date has been set yet for the four and six year old boys killed in the fire.  The 28 year old father burned during the fire remains at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle in serious but stable condition.

Law enforcement officers are seeking help from the public to solve this arson-homicide.  Anyone with information is asked to call a tip line set up at the River Com Dispatch Center (Tel. 509-663-9911). 

Also, anyone living in the general area with security video cameras is asked to review any video they have from 10:15 PM to 11 PM from the night of August 4th for video that could prove helpful with this case.  

PREVIOUS STORY:

WENATCHEE, Wash. (AP) - Investigators say a fire that killed two young boys in Wenatchee is suspicious.

Battalion Chief Mike Price told KPQ suspicions were raised because the fire spread so quickly. The house, divided into upstairs and downstairs apartments, was fully involved in flames Thursday night when firefighters arrived. They found the bodies of the boys, ages 4 and 6, on the ground floor. Upstairs residents got out safely.

The boys' mother, Lucia Garcia, told The Wenatchee World she was away from home with her mother at the time. She says the boys' father, Israel Alejandre, was burned trying to save them. He was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle in critical condition.

PREVIOUS STORY:

WENATCHEE, Wash. (AP) - Two boys, ages 4 and 6, have been killed in a fire at a duplex in Wenatchee.

KPQ reports the boys' father suffered severe burns in the Thursday night fire and was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Neighbors reported flames from the two-story duplex around 10:45 p.m., and the building was fully involved when firefighters arrived from Wenatchee and Chelan and Douglas county districts.

Firefighters found the boys dead in the ground floor apartment. Residents in the second floor apartment safely escaped. Federal agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are helping Wenatchee police and fire department investigators determine the cause of the fire.

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