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Court documents: Vancouver arson suspect may have poured chemical accelerant near doors at mayor’s house

Vancouver police said store surveillance video shows Aidan Michael Murray stealing lighter fluid just before the arson was reported.
Credit: KGW

VANCOUVER, Wash. — A man arrested for allegedly setting a fire at the home of Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle on Monday may have poured chemical accelerant near two doors, according to court documents.

Aidan Michael Murray, 29, faces multiple charges including first-degree arson, second-degree burglary, third-degree theft and second-degree malicious mischief.

A probable cause document did not provide any details about whether Murray, who is homeless, was politically motivated.

Vancouver police responded to a report of arson at McEnerny-Ogle's home around 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 12. McEnerny-Ogle was at a city council meeting at the time. According to court documents, her husband, Terry Ogle, told officers that he encountered a man outside his home who then ran away through the backyard. Ogle saw a fire growing up the side of his house near one of the side doors, according to court documents. He used a fire extinguisher to put the fire out and called 911.

RELATED: Man arrested for arson at Vancouver mayor's home appears in court

An officer at the scene stated he could smell the odor of a chemical accelerant at the front door of the home as well as near the side door. The side door was "significantly damaged by fire and there was yellow flame retardant all over it and on the ground," court documents said. Investigators found a bottle of lighter fluid at the scene. 

Police said store surveillance video shows Murray entering the Safeway near 38th Street and Main Street around 8:50 p.m. and stealing bottles of lighter fluid.

The night before the arson, someone broke into McEnerny-Ogle's home while she and her family were out of town and stole jewelry, court documents said. Police believe Murray is likely linked to the burglary and they are waiting for DNA analysis for confirmation.

He is also connected to a burglary at a Vancouver business. Just after midnight on Wednesday, officers responded to a burglary at El Burrito Majoado near Harney Street and Jefferson Street and arrested Murray.

Murray appeared in a Clark County court via video on Thursday. During his appearance, he made one statement about trying to seek treatment, but was told to remain silent. A judge set his bail at $500,000 for arson and $10,000 for burglary. The court also issued a no-contact order. 

RELATED: Arson at Vancouver mayor's home was preceded by burglary, she says

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