Man dead in suspicious house fire in Graham

by: Kevin McCarty Updated:

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GRAHAM, Wash. - The body of a man was found after a fire at a house in Graham that police say appears to be suspicious.

Authorities said a neighbor saw smoke coming from the house in the 19300 block 89th Avenue Northeast Wednesday morning and called 911. Firefighters searching the home discovered the body.  Detectives said it's not clear how the man died. Both the death and fire appear to be suspicious in nature, police said.

The home is owned by a 55 year old man known to investigators as mentally ill and paranoid. They said they have reports he has been suicidal in the past and have not ruled that out. “That’s one of the things we’ll be looking at it the possibility of a suicide. We know he has some issues”, said Pierce County Sheriff’s detective Ed Troyer. The man had cd’s placed at windows throughout the home to protect him from rays he thought were beamed into the house by the government.

Authorities said the fire was set in several places throughout the home and only the interior was damaged. “It’s obviously a suspicious death”, said Troyer.

It's unclear if the body is his. The death is being investigated by the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office and the fire is being investigated by the Pierce County Fire Marshal.

Neighbors described the owner of the burned home as mentally troubled and said bizarre outbursts at the home were common. “I felt like it was just a matter of time before something happened”, said Harshiem Ross. Ross said the man often yelled at neighbors, particularly women, for no apparent reason and once confronted his wife. “He came out one day and was standing out in the street yelling her name and saying, hey you took my cell phone”, said Ross.

KIRO 7 Eyewitness News South Sound reporter Kevin McCarty ran a check on the man’s name through Pierce County Superior Court and found he had requested a restraining order against a family member last year claiming he heard her voice outside his window at night demanding money. The order was denied.

The man’s name is not being made public because the identity of the person killed had not been confirmed as of Thursday evening, and it’s not clear that family members have been notified.