Auburn homeowners relieved after second arson suspect arrested

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AUBURN -  Police have made another arrest, in the string of arsons that have plagued Auburn homeowners the last few months. The second suspect is the younger cousin of the man who was arrested Thursday.

For months, homeowners in Auburn have been on edge because of a series of suspicious fires.

“There was one right around the corner, then the van right over here caught on fire,” says Vonda Damian. “They tried to even do a trash can right in the street. It was too close to home.”

Auburn police found a fingerprint at one of those fires and had been tracking a person of interest. Thursday, they arrested Michael McGrath after more fires including one at Charles Sargent’s home.

“It’s kind of weird that it happened here. I mean it could have happened anywhere,” he says. “I’m just glad it was the boat and not the house."

Police thought McGrath, who’s in his early 20s, had been acting alone. But after following up on information they obtained during his arrest, they arrested his 16 year old cousin.  They believe the teen was involved in at least six intentionally set fires, two at occupied homes.

“We’re hoping that obviously these fires stop now,” says Commander Mike Hirman.

Homeowners are hoping that too. They tell us even though it took longer than they would have liked, they’re glad someone is being held responsible for all the fear they caused.

“I’m glad, I really am,” says Damian. “It puts you more at ease.”

Police say they are continuing to investigate, trying to determine exactly how many fires the men set, when they worked together and when they acted on their own.

There was a hearing for McGrath today, but he did not appear in court. His bail has been set for $350,000.

His cousin has been booked into the King County Juvenile Detention Center.