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News / Clark County News

Vancouver man in court in attempted arson case

He’s accused of trying to set fire to Brickhouse Bar & Grill

By Dylan Jefferies, Columbian staff writer
Published: March 4, 2024, 6:19pm

A Vancouver man suspected of dumping gasoline and attempting to ignite a fire in the entrance of a popular downtown Vancouver bar and restaurant made a first appearance Monday in Clark County Superior Court.

Christopher J. Withey, 39, appeared on suspicion of first-degree arson, fourth-degree assault and three counts of felony harassment. He is accused of trying to set fire to Brickhouse Bar & Grill, 109 W. 15th St., on a busy Friday night and throwing the bar’s owner to the ground before fleeing the scene, court records state.

Judge John Fairgrieve set Withey’s bail at $150,000 and scheduled a hearing Thursday to enter an order for a competency evaluation.

Multiple law enforcement agencies responded at 5:45 p.m. after Brickhouse patrons chased Withey down and detained him across the street from the establishment, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Withey poured a vinegar bottle filled with gasoline on the bar’s welcome mat and attempted to ignite it with a lighter. Angela Deans, Brickhouse owner, told police Withey threw her to the ground as he attempted to flee, the affidavit states.

Deans told police Withey initially entered the bar around 5 p.m., but he was refused service because he did not have valid identification. He then threatened to “leave the bar, return, and burn it down,” according to court records.

He returned 45 minutes later with gasoline and a lighter, court records state.

Withey allegedly told police he “was currently under mind control by the FBI,” and he did not care if anyone was harmed by the fire. He also allegedly said he would harm anyone who provided statements to the police about his actions, according to court records.

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