A 14-year-old Kennewick boy pleaded innocent Wednesday to setting fire to four Kennewick houses, including his own.
Nicholas I. May remains jailed at the Benton-Franklin Juvenile Justice Center in Kennewick on $50,000 bail.
He was arrested Oct. 22 after telling a school resource officer at Southridge High School that he had done bad things in his neighborhood, court documents said.
The resource officer brought May to the Kennewick police station where he was interviewed by an arson investigator.
Never miss a local story.
May used different methods to start the fires, including lighters, paper towels and a gas stove, court documents said.
A hearing is scheduled Monday in juvenile court to consider releasing May to his parents or lowering his bail.
His parents told court officials they are having an alarm system installed to ensure that they are alerted any time a door or window is opened in their house. The system is scheduled to be installed by early next week, said officials.
May's family hired a mental health counselor, who has already met with the teen at the juvenile center, officials said. If he is released, his parents have said they will supervise him around the clock.
May is charged with first-degree arson, two counts of second-degree arson and reckless burning. No other unsolved arsons in Kennewick have been linked to May but authorities say they're still investigating.
Prosecutors said in court they expect to amend the reckless burning charge to another first-degree arson charge, which if convicted carries a penalty of more than two years in a juvenile detention facility.
The most recent fire on Oct. 18 was at a friend's house at 3908 S. Palouse Place. Police say May broke into the home of the family of four when no one was there.
May allegedly turned the stove on high and set fires on the carpet and the couch and used a paper towel roll to light the master bedroom on fire.
No one was hurt but some family's pets, including fish and a hamster, were killed. The house had heavy smoke and fire damage.
May reportedly admitted burning a home under construction at 4457 S. Palouse Street on Sept. 16, court documents said.
He told police he ignited construction paper used to protect the floors and a cardboard box. In addition to fire damage, a pipe burst and water damaged several parts of the house, officials said.
The Palouse Street fire was a day after May allegedly used three lighters to set a backyard on fire at 1500 W. 40th Place, court documents said. Investigators believe May used a pile of tumbleweeds to start the blaze, burning a fence and a part of the house.
An off-duty Kennewick police detective saw smoke coming from the yard and used a garden hose to put it out.
Last December, police were called to May's house for a report of a burglary, court documents said. May's father woke up about 1 a.m. to find a paper towel roll on fire and the front door of their house wide open. Drawers in the house on West 40th Place also were found open.
May reportedly admitted to setting the fire at his house when police questioned him, court documents said.
-- Tyler Richardson: 582-1556; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @Ty_richardson