LYNDEN, Wash. — An affidavit of probable cause for the arrest of business owner Kerry Bolton, age 46, for arson details what is reportedly visible on a video recording from an adjacent business leading up to the fire that destroyed the building where Bolton operated his business.
The probable cause affidavit prepared by Lynden Police on July 25th and submitted in Whatcom County Superior Court by prosecutors says Lynden Police arrived at the scene of the fire after being dispatched at 11:35pm on July 16th. The building was found to be fully involved and the owner, Bolton, was at the scene.
Bolton told a Whatcom County Fire Marshal’s Office inspector that the fire started after he spilled gasoline onto a generator that had been running. Attempts to put out the fire with an extinguisher were not successful so he grabbed his dog from an upstairs office, left the building and called 911.
Lynden Police investigators obtained surveillance video from an adjacent business. The video showed the north side of the building, where the fire reportedly started. The affidavit provides the following timeline from the video.
- 11:05pm – Bolton’s sub-renter is seen speaking with Bolton and then leaves.
- 11:09pm – Bolton can be seen standing in a door between garage bays. “A short time later” what appears to be a fire extinguisher discharge is visible. No fire is visible.
- 11:22pm – Fire is visible in the area where Bolton had said the generator was.
- 11:23pm to 11:25pm – Fire flares up as Bolton is seen walking in an area 3 garage bays from the location of the fire.
- 11:24pm to 11:30pm – Bolton is not visible and the fire continues to grow.
- 11:30pm – Bolton is seen walking from the building while talking on a cell phone and carrying a small dog.
- 11:31pm – Bolton drives to the parking lot in front of his business. The building is fully involved.
- 11:31pm – Bolton drives to the parking lot of an adjacent business and calls 911 to report the fire.
A search of Bolton’s cell phone records showed he spoke with his sub-renter while leaving the building and before calling 911.
The sub-renter told investigators Bolton called to say the shop was on fire and he had already called the fire department.
Further investigation revealed Bolton was behind in making rent payments and he and the sub-renter were being evicted at the end of July.
Bolton filed an insurance claim for $133,500 for tools and equipment lost in the fire.
On July 27th, Bolton was arrested by Lynden Police, booked into Whatcom County Jail and charged with suspicion of 1st degree arson. He was released from custody about 30 minutes later.
Bolton is scheduled to make a preliminary court appearance on August 5th.