You may remember the suspicious May 26 fire that destroyed a home near Benton City, leaving a woman and child homeless. While those reports have not been confirmed, Benton County Sheriff’s fire investigators had said it was suspicious.
Officials initially said the house was “unoccupied”.
No one was home when the fire was reported on the private North Schumacher road near the town, the call arrived around 9 p.m.
According to reports, a person of interest was seen in the area shortly before the fire started.
Now, a nationwide arrest warrant has been issued for Todd James Gaines, 37, hometown listed as Burbank, and he is wanted on first degree arson charges.
According to the Benton County Sheriff’s Office:
“Gaines is 5’11”, weighs 175 pounds, brown hair and blue eyes. He wears a full beard but could have shaved.
Gaines is aware that the sheriff’s office is looking for him and is avoiding being arrested. The sheriff’s office is offering a reward of $ 1,000 for information leading to his arrest. “
Investigators have not disclosed any information on where or how the fire started, or whether accelerators were used, but the circumstances of this case seem the case is considered extremely serious – as possibly be more complex.
Anyone with whereabouts information is asked to call (509) -628-0333. All leads can be confidential.
The authorities warn if you see it, Do not approach but call the police.