A Kennewick man pleaded innocent Wednesday to allegations he started an early morning fire inside his apartment, then left without telling his neighbors.
Jason Donald Hill, 31, is set for trial Nov. 25 in Benton County Superior Court on one count of first-degree reckless burning.
Firefighters and police responded at 2:06 a.m. Friday to the Edison Village Green Apartments, 530 N. Edison St., to find smoke coming from Hill’s unit, F-104.Crews were able to keep the fire from spreading to other apartments.
A neighbor told police that he’d been in the apartment with Hill, and the suspect had set off the fire alarm three to four times that evening, according to court documents.
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The last time the alarm sounded, Hill knocked the smoke detector off the wall and ran from the apartment, documents said.
Neighbor Jerry Lane said he saw smoke, so he checked the bathroom and found flames. Lane then left that unit and began notifying other tenants, court documents said.
Hill was found about a mile away.
In an interview with police, Hill didn’t admit deliberately setting the fire, but admitted “his actions did start the fire” and he left while the fire was burning, documents said. He is in the Benton County jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.
Though there are several open arson investigations related to recent fires in the Kennewick area, police have said Hill is not a suspect in the others.
If people have information on the fires and want to remain anonymous, they can call Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers line at 586-8477 or go to www.tricitiescrimestoppers.org.
-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer