A South Whidbey man is suspected of starting a fire that reduced one house to rubble and spread to the garage of an adjacent house at Useless Bay Colony Thursday morning, police officials say.
Nobody was injured in the blaze that began at about 5:30 a.m.
Island County Sheriff Mark Brown identified the suspect as Blake Fountain, 48. Deputies arrested him at the scene on suspicion of arson in the first degree.
Brown said Fountain has no criminal history and the motive is unclear at this time. The sheriff’s office reached out to the ATF for assistance with the investigation.
“We want to make sure we preserve evidence,” he said. “It will be a long, drawn-out process, I’m sure.”
Fountain will likely appear in Island County Superior Court Friday morning for his preliminary appearance.
The residents were able to escape the house, which is located on Capt. Vancouver Drive. Plumes of smoke could be seen from afar as the house was engulfed in flames.
“I believe everybody was home at the time,” said Detective Sgt. Laura Price with the Island County Sheriff’s Office. “Everybody is safe. All the animals and families are out.”
Price said it is unknown what caused the fire. However, two gas cannisters were found nearby during the course of the investigation, she said.
Price said the “target house” was completely destroyed, while the fire attacked the garage of the second house.
Record reporter Evan Thompson contributed to this story.