Police arrest squatter in connection with house fire

February 7, 2019

After an unoccupied house caught fire Wednesday morning in north Spokane, police arrested a man who witnesses say left the house after the blaze started and wiped his hands in the snow.

Raymond J. Smyers was booked into the Spokane County Jail and is facing charges of reckless burning, burglary and possession of a controlled substance.

At about 8 a.m., firefighters responded to the fire at 4001 W. Crown Ave. and saw smoke coming from second-floor windows, according to a Spokane Fire Department news release.

Firefighters entered the multistory house and searched for occupants but found no one inside. The suspect was illegally living in the house, the news release stated.

Smyers was treated for smoke inhalation and burning eyes, according to the news release.

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