UPDATE | Man says he started fires to cleanse buildings of evil spirits

A fire mostly destroyed a former music venue on Arsenal Way in Bremerton on Monday afternoon.

Police arrested Joshua Sonnier on at least one charge of arson stemming from the incident, according to the Bremerton Fire Department. On Wednesday, he was being held in Kitsap County jail on $300,000 bail.

According to charging documents, Sonnier claimed he set fire to the building in order to cleanse it of a “dark spirit or the devil.” Sonnier allegedly set fire to several wooden beams within the building after hearing a spirit when he entered the premises.

BFD spokesperson John Payne said Sonnier was allegedly seen on surveillance footage leaving thebuilding after the fire started.

Sonnier also stated the Arsenal Way fire was not the first he had set in Bremerton in order to expel the spirits living within, documents say. Sonnier allegedly admitted to setting a fire in the basement on the 2900 block of 15th Street after discovering a spirit there as well.

Four area fire departments including the Bremerton Fire Department, Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue and federal firefighters from the U.S. Navy shipyard responded to the blaze just after 2:15 p.m. Monday at the derelict concert venue formerly known as Natacha’s.

Flames had completely engulfed the building, BFD battalion chief Brad Richard said, preventing access for firefighters.

By 5 p.m. crews were still attempting to extinguish portions of the blaze at the graffitied structure, which had been in disuse for decades and was for sale.

The damage was so extensive that by the end of the day, the former concert hall — which had seen performances from Roy Orbison, the Ramones and the Wailers over the decades — was reduced to rubble.