Police arrest suspect in October fire that burned businesses in downtown Sumner

Sumner police have arrested a woman in her 20s whom they believe started the fire that burned several businesses in downtown Sumner in October.

Police said in a news release that “on Thursday, November 3, she told police she started the building fire on purpose in order to have police and fire ‘do their jobs.’”

“Flabbergasted. I have to say it’s outrageous,” Jerrod Winter, who lives in Sumner, said. Like him, many others were shocked.

“That somebody would do that on purpose is pretty disheartening,” Greg Reinke, who also lives in Sumner, said. “To disrupt so many lives, businesses and other people’s lives is heartbreaking.”

Sumner police have not yet confirmed the woman’s identity but they said they had had interactions with her before. The woman had been booked into the Pierce County Jail on unrelated warrants on Oct. 29 — the day after the fire.

“They do their jobs every day, so why would you have to put other people’s lives in danger and their jobs? And now they got to figure what they gotta do to make way for their rent or whatever they got to do, you know,” Winter said.

Jeremy Chappel is part of the crew helping to rebuild.

“That’s an unfortunate comment, you know. I guess my thought to that is it was pretty impactful for the community, especially a small community coming up on the holidays,” Chappel said. Sumner police said they have established probable cause and have referred her case to the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office for arson charges. She is still in custody on unrelated charges and the prosecutor’s office is expected to make a charging decision soon.

Police are still investigating the potential involvement of others in this case.