A Finley man has been arrested and charged in connection with a fire intentionally set at a Kennewick radio transmitter station late last year.
Police linked Dale T. LaGrande, 28, to the fire after collecting evidence and DNA from the scene on North Cleveland Street, police announced Wednesday.
Benton County prosecutors charged LaGrande, who had been a suspect in the case, with second-degree arson.
The Nov. 15 fire destroyed expensive equipment and caused more than $100,000 in damage. It knocked three local radio stations — Power 99.1, Eagle Classic Rock 106.5 and KJOX 1340 — off the air.
The fire apparently burned itself out and a worker discovered the burned building, which is in a vacant lot behind Kamiakin High School, the following morning.
Radio personalities and law enforcement held a news conference shortly after the blaze to announce a $10,000 reward through Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers for information in the case.
The organization usually offers up to $1,000 for information on suspects’ whereabouts, but an anonymous donation was made to help raise the reward money.
Shortly after the reward was announced, police got several tips that identified LaGrande as a possible suspect, said Mike Blatman, police spokesman.
Authorities plan to give the reward money to the first person who provided a tip about LaGrande.
There has been a problem throughout the years of break-ins and vandalism at building, which was covered in graffiti when the fire was started.
Police found evidence there that connected LaGrande to the vandalism before the fire was started, Blatman said.
LaGrande is being held at the Benton County jail on arson and other charges, including unlawful gun possession, online jail records show.