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News / Clark County News

Suspect at large in arson case at Vancouver mayor’s home

Mayor has said she believes the fire was politically motivated

By Lauren Ellenbecker, Columbian staff writer, and
Becca Robbins, Columbian staff reporter
Published: September 13, 2022, 1:14pm

UPDATE: Vancouver police arrested a man early Wednesday morning they believe was responsible for starting a fire at the home of Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle and her husband, Terry Ogle, on Monday night.

Vancouver police have not yet located or identified the suspect who started a fire at the home of Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle and her husband, Terry Ogle, on Monday night.

Investigators also have not identified a motive, according to Vancouver police spokeswoman Kim Kapp. However, the mayor said Tuesday she believes the arson was politically motivated.

When looking at her personal calendar, full of volunteer shifts and baking pies, McEnerny-Ogle couldn’t find any reason for such upset. In her life as a public official, however, she said her decisions can have a larger sway on public opinion.

“Either it’s very personal or is very political,” McEnerny-Ogle told The Columbian. “I don’t know that I have made someone so angry that they are willing to kill Terry and me in our home by setting our house on fire.”

On Monday morning, McEnerny-Ogle and her husband had arrived home to find someone had burglarized their house, she said. The couple spent Sunday night with her brother, she said, so they were not present during the burglary.

Kapp said it is unknown if the burglary and arson are related, but McEnerny-Ogle said she suspects the same person is involved.

McEnerny-Ogle did not elaborate on what political reasons could have led to the incidents.

Police and the Vancouver Fire Marshal’s Office responded for an arson investigation at 9:37 p.m. to the mayor’s home, which is in the Shumway neighborhood north of downtown Vancouver.

McEnerny-Ogle confirmed that her husband confronted an individual who was setting a fire near the garage and was able to extinguish the blaze. Police said the suspect ran away. Terry Ogle was not injured.

Police said they set up containment and conducted a K-9 track, but the suspect was not located.

A Columbian reporter at the scene saw yellow fire line tape and a deputy fire marshal examining the north side of the two-story garage, which contains an apartment.

Kapp said there was minor fire damage to the garage. Investigators are not releasing any more details about the arson, she said.

The mayor was at the Vancouver City Council meeting as the events unfolded.

McEnerny-Ogle said she was receiving numerous notifications, so she turned off her cellphone during the meeting. Later, an officer present at the meeting told her what occurred at her home.

She was seen arriving home at about 11 p.m. and briefly speaking with police and fire investigators.

Although elected officials are used to receiving feedback from the public, the mayor said, the severity has escalated in recent years. In response to growing threats, the city of Vancouver passed changes to city code to protect targeted government employees from harassment.

“This is why we passed that protest ordinance here in Vancouver to start knocking down some of this very ugly stuff that is happening in our city and have the courage to say, ‘No, stop,’” McEnerny-Ogle said.

What happened Monday night was scary, McEnerny-Ogle said, but she refuses to let it make her feel uneasy in her own home.

Her initial concern was whether her husband was injured, but it soon dissipated once she knew he was safe. Now, the mayor and her husband will continue living their lives as they did before.

“I don’t think I’m in shock. I think I’m ready for a bowl of ice cream,” McEnerny-Ogle said.