July 22, 2013
Gary Jenkins, Chief of Police
Pullman Police Department
PULLMAN – Pullman Police have arrested a suspect believed to have intentionally set fire to the Grove Apartments. On July 22, 2013 at about 4:05 p.m., Pullman Police Department detectives arrested Bryan Lee Kitchen, a 31-year-old Pullman resident, in connection with the Grove Apartment fire on July 14. Kitchen had accompanied detectives to the Pullman Police Department for an interview and subsequently made admissions that led investigators to believe he was involved in setting the fire. Kitchen worked for a plumbing sub-contractor at the construction site, but no motive was provided for the arson. Kitchen had been a person of interest since the morning of the fire when his unoccupied vehicle was seen near the fire scene by a Pullman police officer around the time the fire was believed to have been started. Detectives contacted Kitchen periodically during the course of the scene investigation. After the fire was determined to be arson, detectives asked Kitchen to accompany them to the police station on July 22 for further questioning.
Kitchen was booked at Pullman PD on a charge of Arson in the First Degree, and Class 'A' felony, and will be transported to the Whitman County Jail. After conferring with the Whitman County Prosecuting Attorney and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Spokane, the U.S. Attorney's office will be reviewing the case for possible federal prosecution.
The Pullman Fire Department was called to the site of the Grove Apartments at 1560 NE Brandi Way just after 3:00 a.m. on Sunday, July 14, on a report of a structure fire. Whitman County Rural Fire District #12 and the Colfax and Moscow City and Rural Fire Departments also provided assistance. Four structures under construction with an estimated completed value of close to $13 million were destroyed. Investigators from the Pullman Fire Department conducted a fire investigation at the scene to determine cause, and were assisted by investigators from the Pullman Police Department, Washington State University Police Department, and the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The Spokane Valley Fire Department assisted with the use of an arson dog and the Spokane County Sheriff's Department assisted with mapping the scene. The investigation at the scene led to a conclusion that the fire was intentionally set.
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