MEDICAL LAKE, Wa. – A 12-year-old boy has been arrested for starting a fire that destroyed a historic Medical Lake home over the weekend. Spokane County officers arrested the boy on Tuesday night around 7:15. The Sheriff's Office says that the boy ignited a propane bottle on the home's second floor and then left, thinking he had turned it off. According to court documents, the boy said he realized it wasn't off when he later saw the home engulfed in flames. Also mentioned in those court documents is the fact that the 12-year-old boy was not alone in the home. Another person, who says that the 12-year-old intentionally lit a mattress on fire with the propane bottle, accompanied him. According to the second person, they both tried to stomp the fire out, but it was too late. The fire had gotten out of control and they ran out of the house. According to documents, they saw the house on fire 20 minutes later.
The homeowner came into town Wednesday from Billings, MT, to finally see the destruction with his own eyes. Only FOX FIRST AT TEN was there when Michael Ludlam first saw his destroyed home. The crumbled charred, remains were not just Ludlam's home, they were his dream, a dream that Ludlam wanted to share with the entire community. Ludlam told FOX FIRST AT TEN, "I was going to turn it into a historic bed and breakfast."
He planned to call the place, "Camp Comfort Inn Bed and Breakfast," which he had been working on for years. In fact, Ludlam even made a Facebook page for it.
The home is rooted in history, built in the late 1800's. Ludlam says Bing Crosby may have even stayed there, and sometime down the road, Ludlam planned to settle down here. "It was my plan to retire in this house. I couldn't think of a better place than Medical Lake. We don't even have a stoplight," said Ludlam.
But his dream came crashing down with the lighting of a single flame. Ludlam said,"I was just devastated, I couldn't believe it."
So many questions remain about Ludlam's future here in Medical Lake, and he's left to make sense of something he feels is so careless. "He more than just burned down a house. He ruined 130 years of history. He ruined my future business plans and he took away my home," Ludlam said.
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE FROM THE SPOKANE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: On Saturday, June 2nd, 2012, Medical Lake Fire Department responded to a house fire at 207 E. Lake St. After the fire was extinguished, it was determined the residence was a total loss.
Spokane County Sheriff's Deputy Mike McNees investigated the cause of the fire, which was determined by fire investigators to be incendiary in nature and did not result from a natural ignition source.
On Tuesday, June 5th, 2012, Deputy McNees arrested a 12 year old juvenile male for starting the fire. The male told Deputy McNees he had ignited a propane bottle on the second floor of the residence, left it on the floor and thought it was turned off.
About twenty minutes later, he said he realized the propane bottle had not been turned off when he saw the home on fire.
Deputy McNees arrested the juvenile male for 2nd Degree Arson.