Flaming toilet paper spreads, boy arrested

A 12-year-old Oak Harbor boy is in trouble for starting a fire that spread from a port-a-potty to a former concession stand at a 4-H facility on North Whidbey.

Ray Merrill, the training officer for North Whidbey Fire and Rescue, said the blaze occurred at the Island County WSU Extension horse arena on Green Valley Road Tuesday evening, Sept. 6.

Merrill said the boy was apparently playing with a lighter and lit the toilet paper in the portable toilet at the arena. The fire was fed by a bottle of flammable hand sanitizer and quickly consumed the vacant lavatory.

The conflagration soon spread to a nearby building that once served as a concession stand but had been used as storage in recent years.

Merrill said the North Whidbey firefighters, aided by firefighters from the Navy base, quickly extinguished the fire. The portable potty was completely destroyed and the front side of the building was burned.

Tim Lawrence, director of Island County WSU Extension, said the agency was planning on tearing down the building, so it wasn’t a big loss. He said there were some odds and ends stored in the building that sustained water damage.

Merrill said the boy was arrested. A prosecutor reported that she was familiar with the case, but hasn’t yet received a police report on the incident.


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