Teen to be tried as juvenile for Arnold’s fire

The 16-year-old Port Orchard boy accused of setting a fire that destroyed Arnold’s Home Furnishings will be tried in juvenile court, according to Kitsap County deputy prosecutor Todd Dowell.

A Kitsap County Superior Court judge recently ruled the teenager would be tried as a juvenile rather than an adult.

“Essentially he’s looking at more time (in prison) as a juvenile than as an adult,” Dowell said.

If the teenager were tried and convicted for first-degree arson as an adult, he’d face 21 to 27 months in prison, according to Dowell. As a juvenile, he would face 23 to 29 months behind bars.

Sentencing ranges are set in state law.

Dowell also said juveniles cannot be held in adult prisons, so the 16-year-old would serve his sentence in a juvenile facility regardless of whether or not he was tried as an adult.

The teenager pleaded not guilty to the first-degree arson charge. He was arrested and booked into Kitsap County Juvenile Detention Center Sept. 10, but has since posted bail.

The 16-year-old is accused of using a lighter and can of butane to ignite a couch inside the Bremerton furniture store July 27. Investigators believe he broke a window and started the fire.

More than 100 firefighters were called in to battle the blaze, making it “the largest Kitsap County fire in recent history,” according to Bremerton Police.

Detectives arrested a 13-year-old Bremerton boy Sept. 11 on a charge of first-degree arson, but he was released while investigators continue to gather more information, according to Bremerton Police.

A third boy, age 15, was arrested in late September on suspicion of helping set the fire. He also was released pending further investigation.