Tacoma: charges for arson set at squatted house

News Tribune. July 1:

Tacoma Man charged with setting abandoned house on fire

A Tacoma man has pleaded not guilty to starting a fire last month that destroyed an abandoned home where at least two squatters were living.

Pierce County prosecutors have charged John Daniel Whaley Nye, 28, with a single count of first-degree arson.

The fire occurred June 22 at a home in the 1800 block of S. Lawrence Street. Investigators determined that the blaze was deliberately set, the power had been red tagged months before and several people had been living at the home.

Nye lived directly behind the house that burned, which was slated for demolition to make room for a medical building.

According to charging documents:

One of the women who had been squatting at the house told police that she and a pregnant woman had been staying at the home for about a month, and that Nye had showed her that the back door was unlocked.

When Nye, who was involved with the pregnant woman, discovered that she had been doing drugs in the house, he threatened to “torch” the place.

He then ran upstairs and the woman saw black smoke.

At the time of his arrest, Nye had an active warrant for his arrest on a trespassing charge.

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