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Vancouver man charged with arson, burglary after fire in Hazel Dell shed

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:
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Anthony K. Freeze appears Monday in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of first-degree arson, residential burglary and first-degree malicious mischief. He sat slumped over, with his hand over his face for the entire hearing.
Anthony K. Freeze appears Monday in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of first-degree arson, residential burglary and first-degree malicious mischief. He sat slumped over, with his hand over his face for the entire hearing. (Becca Robbins/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

A Vancouver man is accused of breaking into a shed in a woman’s backyard Sunday in Hazel Dell and starting a fire inside that also damaged her house.

Anthony K. Freeze, 36, appeared Monday in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of first-degree arson, residential burglary and first-degree malicious mischief. His bail was set at $500,000, and he is scheduled to be arraigned June 23.

Clark County sheriff’s deputies responded at 5:36 p.m. to 2417 N.E. 107th St., in the Sherwood neighborhood, for reports of a residential burglary. A woman called 911 shortly before to report her house had been burglarized, and she later heard someone inside the shed in her backyard, according to a probable cause affidavit. She then saw flames coming from the shed.

The woman told deputies the side door to her garage was also kicked in and items on shelves inside were knocked over, court records say.

Deputies could hear crashing and banging coming from inside the shed, court records state. They then saw flames and smoke and believed the person inside lit things on fire. The affidavit states the man, later identified as Freeze, refused to come out of the shed.

After several minutes, Freeze began coughing, and the doors to the shed flew open, court records state. Deputies said black smoke poured out of the shed.

When deputies ordered Freeze to back away from the fire, he went back inside the shed and grabbed a propane torch, the affidavit states. He did not threaten any first responders, according to a sheriff’s office news release. Deputies said Freeze also went back inside to grab a gas can but eventually dropped both the gas can and torch.

The shed was engulfed in flames, and the fire began melting the siding of the woman’s house and damaged a second-story window, according to court records. A tree near the shed also caught fire, which threatened two nearby houses.

Clark County Fire District 6 extinguished the fire and kept it from spreading to the other houses, the sheriff’s office news release states. The shed eventually collapsed, according to the affidavit. The fire crews and 10 deputies responded to the incident.

Court records state Freeze caused more than $5,000 worth of damage to the woman’s property.

Deputies said they believe Freeze was suffering from a mental health crisis or could have been under the influence of drugs, the news release states. He allegedly told deputies his name was that of a character from a movie.

Following his arrest, Freeze was taken to Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center to be evaluated. He had with him items from a house that was burglarized earlier in the day, according to the news release. Deputies said they responded to that burglary call but didn’t have any suspect information at the time.

Deputies had contacted Freeze previously and determined he had a Department of Corrections escape warrant for his arrest, but the agency couldn’t take him into custody because of booking trends, the sheriff’s office said.

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