Vancouver teen held in arson probe

16-year-old accused of starting fire that destroyed Sifton family’s home

By Mark Bowder, Columbian assistant metro editor

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A 16-year-old boy from Vancouver is being held in connection with a fire that destroyed a Sifton family’s home Friday, according to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

The teen, whose name was not released, was taken into custody Friday and held at the Clark County Juvenile Detention Center on suspicion of first degree arson, said Sgt. Steve Shea.

Shea said the teen was detained based on a deputy’s interviews with residents of the house during the fire.

All the occupants of the home safely escaped.

The exact relationship between the teen and the family was not released Saturday, but Shea said he lived in the home.

The ranch-style house at 8518 N.E. 129th Ave. was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived shortly after 9 a.m. Friday, with flames visible through the doors and windows. The fire was brought under control at 10:30 a.m.

The home was declared a total loss, and the fire is being investigated as an arson, Clark County Fire Marshal Jon Dunaway said Friday evening. More details on the investigation were not available Saturday.

County property records show the house is owned by Michael and Patricia Smith. Patricia Smith and three children live in the home, according to Capt. Scott Willis, a Vancouver Fire Department spokesman.

The American Red Cross offered its assistance to the family, but the Smiths declined, saying they have family and friends they can stay with for the time being, Willis said.

Mark Bowder: 360-735-4512 or mark.bowder@columbian.com.