• String of suspicious fires in Sumner being investigated

    By: Shelby Miller

    Updated:

    SUMNER, Wash. - Sumner police are investigating a string of fires that may be suspicious.

    Flames recently torched two cars in the Elm Valley Apartments parking lot.

    >> Related: Police investigate 2 car arsons in Tacoma

    “The engine is toast, the transmission is completely gone, wheels are warped. Everything. Everything’s gone,” said Jeremy Crank.

    Crank’s new Nissan was destroyed in the fire. The windshield is shattered, the bumper is burned off, his seats are seared, and list goes on and on.

    “It’s completely totaled. There’s nothing salvageable about it in any way, shape, or form,” he said.

    Crank’s car caught fire around 11:30 p.m. Oct. 1 in the parking lot off Valley Avenue East.

    Sumner police said flames shot out of the engine. The fire spread to another car parked nearby and melted the fence.

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    Investigators aren’t ruling out arson.  

    “What’s the end game? What do you get out of it? There’s no point, it doesn’t get you anywhere and it just makes people’s lives harder,” said Crank.

    According to police, this isn’t the first suspicious fire in the area.

    In December, flames destroyed an Elm Valley Apartments building.

    In June, someone tried setting fire to a van in the parking lot. Police found an aerosol can and tissue paper at the scene.

    Last month, a truck burned at Whitworth Apartments, which is about a block down away.

    “It’s concerning, no matter what the cause. It’s disturbing, right?” said Carmen Palmer, City of Sumner Communications Director. “A couple of them could be linked. All of them could be linked. We just keep trying to investigate every lead we have and try to figure out what’s really going on.”

    As police search for a potential serial arsonist, Crank's trying to figure out what to do.

    He only had his car for three days. He said insurance won't cover the damage, which means $4,000 just went up in smoke.

    "I don't know anyone who would do this for fun, or for any reason at all. There's no point. It doesn't benefit anyone. It's just cruel,” said Crank.

    A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Crank replace his car.

    The City of Sumner is asking the public to contact the police department at 844-821-8911 if they see anything suspicious, no matter how small. Anonymous tips can also be reported online. 

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