Man appears in court in Felida fireworks fire

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A Vancouver man appeared in Clark County Superior Court on Thursday in connection with a July 5 fireworks fire that destroyed a Felida home.

Andrew A. Perez-Garcia, 18, and Nicholas E. McRaney, 16, are accused of intentionally placing a firework device on the house’s front law and aiming it at a bedroom window.

Perez-Garcia is scheduled to be arraigned July 31 on a charge of first-degree arson. He was set to be released on $15,000 bail on Thursday.

McRaney faces an identical charge in Clark County Juvenile Court. He was mistakenly sent to Superior Court on Thursday, but Judge David Gregerson ruled that Superior Court doesn’t have jurisdiction over the case because McRaney has no criminal history. He is scheduled to appear today in Juvenile Court.

Under state law, juveniles, ages 16 or 17, who are accused of first-degree arson, may be automatically remanded to adult court only when they have a criminal history, said McRaney’s attorney, Kathryn Thayer.

Perez-Garcia also has no criminal history, said an attorney who appeared with him at the hearing.

“This was completely out of character for him,” the attorney said.

She said he’s a recent graduate of Columbia River High School and plans to attend Washington State University in Pullman. He aspires to be a K-9 police handler, she said.

The fire destroyed the home at 100 N.W. 108th St.

Perez-Garcia initially denied that he was involved in the fire but later confessed after confronted with his Facebook posts, which showed photographs of a similar type of fireworks device and a different house burning, wrote Clark County Deputy Fire Marshal Curtis Eavenson in a court affidavit.

The fireworks ignited a bush next to the window; flames then spread under the eaves and into the attic of the ranch-style home. Once in the attic, flames spread throughout the house.

A family that was renting the house was not home at the time of the fire.

The home, a Spanish-style ranch house valued at $133,800, was determined to be a total loss, said Clark County Fire Marshal Jon Dunaway. Property records show the owner is Corley Wooldridge.

During firefighting efforts, a firefighter from Clark County Fire District 6 sustained injuries when a section of the ceiling collapsed on him. He was transported by ambulance to a local hospital, where he was treated and released.

The firework was labeled with a warning that the device “shoots flaming balls,” according to the court affidavit.

Dunaway said the investigation is ongoing and may result in additional arrests and charges.