Man arrested for ‘reckless burning’ in devastating Bellingham feed store fire

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Bellingham police on Wednesday arrested a man for "reckless burning" after fire ripped through a landmark building earlier this month.

Nearly 80 animals were rescued in the early morning fire Feb. 18 at Hohl Feed and Seed on Railroad Avenue.

The city's police and fire departments said the fire appeared to have been started by someone who can be seen on area surveillance video outside the store minutes before the fire was reported.

Police said they arrested a 57-year-old man identified as a transient. The man denied setting the fire intentionally and told investigators he did not remember the morning of the incident. He was arrested and booked into jail.

The Whatcom Humane Society cared for the rescued dozens of animals including rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, mice, domestic rats, birds and a tarantula.

The store has been in the community for more than 100 years.

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