PULLMAN, Wash. – Pullman police have arrested a suspect believed to have intentionally set fire to the Grove apartments.

On Monday, July 22, at about 4:05 p.m., detectives arrested Bryan Lee Kitchen, a 31-year-old Pullman resident, in connection with the July 14 fire. Kitchen had accompanied detectives to the Pullman Police Department for an interview and subsequently made admissions that led investigators to believe he was involved in setting the fire.

Kitchen worked for a plumbing subcontractor at the construction site, but police did not say what they believe to be his motive.

Kitchen had been a person of interest since the morning of the fire when his unoccupied vehicle was seen near the scene by a Pullman police officer around the time the fire was believed to have been started. Detectives contacted Kitchen periodically during the course of the scene investigation.
After the fire was determined to be arson, detectives asked Kitchen to accompany them to the police station on July 22 for further questioning.

Kitchen was booked on a charge of arson in the first degree, a class A felony, and was transported to the Whitman County jail. After conferring with the county prosecuting attorney, the U.S. attorney’s office in Spokane will review the case for possible federal prosecution.

The Pullman Fire Department was called to the fire site at 1560 NE Brandi Way just after 3 a.m. on Sunday, July 14. Rural fire districts from Whitman County, Colfax and Moscow, Idaho, and the Moscow city department, provided assistance.

Four structures under construction with an estimated completed value of close to $13 million were destroyed.

Pullman fire investigators were assisted by investigators from Pullman police, Washington State University police and the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The Spokane Valley Fire Department assisted with an arson dog and the Spokane County Sheriff’s Department assisted with mapping the scene.

The investigation at the scene led to a conclusion that the fire was intentionally set.