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Bellingham man’s arson case dismissed

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — A Bellingham man charged with 1st degree arson in Whatcom County Superior Court had his case dismissed while pleading guilty to reckless burning in Whatcom County District Court.

First responders were dispatched to a smoke investigation July 2017 and found a mobile home fully involved on a property in the 3000 block of Upland Way. The smoke plume from the early morning fire was visible for miles according to witnesses.

Anthony Daniel Summers, now age 47, was arrested and charged with felony arson soon after Whatcom Fire Marshall’s Office investigators determined the fire had been intentionally set.

The affidavit of probable cause filed in Superior Court detailed how Summers had been helping to set up the portable building for a woman with whom he had been living with for 5 years. According to the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, the woman had moved out and was staying with friends while the portable building was being installed on a friend’s property. Court documents say the two had argued and she informed him that he would not be needed once the building was finished.

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After the fire, investigators discovered a pickup truck owned by Summers parked on Olson Road near the Uplands Way fire scene. It was seized and searched. Summers’ wallet and two gas containers were found in the search.

Summers told investigators his pickup had broken down the night before and he had walked back home, a path that passed Lummi Mini Mart at Slater Road and Haxton Way. Investigators say a review of hours of surveillance video did not show Summers’ pickup truck going past or Summers walking past at the times he reported to have been in the area.

On October 18th, an order of dismissal without prejudice was signed by the court regarding the felony 1st degree arson charge. In August, a gross misdemeanor charge of 2nd degree reckless burning was filed in District Court. He pled guilty to that charge and as part of his sentencing is being required to pay restitution on the damages related to the fire. It was not immediately known whether sentencing included any time in custody or additional fines.

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