Arson alert brings award to Enumclaw woman

Because Rachel Kirk stepped forward an arsonist served time for his crime. Kirk was honored for her bravery during a Dec. 7 ceremony at the Enumclaw Fire Department headquarters.

Because Rachel Kirk stepped forward an arsonist served time for his crime.

Kirk was honored for her bravery during a Dec. 7 ceremony at the Enumclaw Fire Department headquarters. She also received a $1,000 Arson Award from Northwest Insurance Council and Arson Alarm Foundation.

Kirk provided investigators with key information that led to the arrest and conviction of an arsonist who torched his own foreclosed Enumclaw home Jan. 9. Damage is estimated at nearly $350,000.

“It takes a lot of courage for someone to call in a tip,” said Ann Buettner, Arson Alarm Foundation interim president, who presented the award. “They don’t know how it will affect their lives.”

Kirk admits she was hesitant.

“Doing the right thing is not easy,” she said. “There was no obligation. No one knew I knew anything. It was my conscience.”

She said her thoughts kept going to the first responders who risked their lives fighting something deliberately set.

“That’s not what they’re here to do,” she said.

“Firefighters can be injured fighting a needless fire,” said Craig Muller, fire investigator/unit supervisor with the King County Sheriff’s Office, who was on hand for the ceremony.

“When she came to us she was truly scared,” Muller said. “She came to us and wanted to do the right thing.”

“It was really scary,” Kirk said. Backed by her fiancé©, family and community members, she stepped forward to encourage other people to do the same.

“We need more involvement with our citizens,” Muller said.

“The public’s help is essential,” Tom Devine, also a King County Sheriff‚Äôs Office fire/arson investigator.

To date this year, King County has investigated 283 fires; 131 were arsons, totalling $1.2 million in losses. Two-thirds of arsons are started by juveniles, the remainder by adults.

Devine said the division is still investigating fires at Westwood Elementary School, the most recent a couple months ago, and would be, “happy to put a name in for a reward.”

“Small fires eventually lead to bigger fires,” Enumclaw/District 28 Chief Joe Clow said.

Buettner said the Arson Award Fund supports local fire departments and law enforcement’s efforts because of arson‚Äôs economic impact on insurance. Arson Alarm Foundation is a nonprofit organization that seeks to reduce loss of life and property by increasing arson awareness in Washington.

“To watch a family rummaging through the remains of their home trying to salvage a piece of their lives is devastating,” Buettner said.

More in News

Taxing district was independent, now part of city government

In a move that was philosophically opposed by a pair of council members, the city of Enumclaw has taken control of the local Transportation Benefit District. The move may not be noticeable to the general public, as the collection and distribution of money should be unchanged. Also, the people controlling the dollars and cents remain the same.

Wilbanks wins close Buckley race

It took a month, but Luke Wilbanks finally knows he’ll be occupying a seat on the Buckley City Council.

Smooth holiday travel requires planning, patience | Department of Transportation

No matter what your holiday plans, being prepared for winter conditions and holiday traffic will help make your trip smoother. The Washington State Department of Transportation urges all travelers to “know before you go” and plan ahead for smoother travel.

Pierce County burn ban lifted | Puget Sound Clean Air Agency Update

The weather may be getting colder, but burn bans have been called for multiple counties due to deteriorating air quality.

Local authors publish their first novels

Sometimes, you just can’t get an idea out of your head. For two local authors, this certainly has been the case. Since they were kids, James Peet of Enumclaw and Tommy Rice of Bonney Lake had some ideas in their heads, ones that never quite left them, even as they grew older, got jobs, and settled down with their wives and kids of their own.

Scammers posing as the State Supreme Court Clerk | Office of the Attorney General

Scammers are posing as the Washington State Supreme Court Clerk to call Washingtonians to demand money and threaten arrest. The fraudulent calls have so far targeted individuals with Hispanic last names.

Enumclaw’s Van Hulse to compete in national music showcase

Erik Van Hulse, who also goes by his stage name Siboh Nisoh, has been working toward this big break for almost as long as he can remember.

Kiwanis honor four as Students of the Month

Members of the Buckley Kiwanis Club honored a trio of “Students of the Month” during an Nov. 16 gathering.

Pepper addresses ‘false’ recall charges in community meeting

The meeting, held at the Black Diamond library, was a chance for voters to have “an opportunity to hear from both sides before they decide to sign,” the recall petition, Pepper wrote in an announcement for the meeting.

Most Read