Woman charged with starting Orting house fire

Staff writerOctober 25, 2013 

Investigators knew somebody had started an Orting house fire with Molotov cocktails but couldn’t figure out why.

It took six months but they eventually targeted a 21-year-old woman as the suspected arsonist in a convoluted tale involving drug addicts, a stolen car and a case of mistaken identity.

Sarah Hanson pleaded not guilty Thursday to three counts of first-degree arson and one count of unlawful possession of an incendiary device. She was ordered jailed in lieu of $100,000 bail.

According to charging papers: A couple awoke April 9 to the sound of a thud and smoke coming from the family room of their home in the 8000 block of 196th Avenue East. Investigators discovered somebody had thrown several Molotov cocktails into the home through a crawl space.

The couple couldn’t think of anybody who would want to burn their home but investigators zeroed in on acquaintances of the couple’s grandson, who was away seeking help for an addiction to methamphetamine.

The family believed a neighbor might have been responsible for the fire because he had sold drugs to the grandson in the past and was upset the grandson had broken a window at his house.

But when DNA testing on a glove found at the fire came back, it directed investigators to Hanson, who had been demanding money for damage done to her car when the grandson stole it, prosecutors said.

Hanson didn’t report the car theft to police but told the grandson to pay her cash. She also visited the grandson’s mother to demand money.

Hanson, believing the grandson was staying with his grandparents, started the fire as payback for not receiving money for the damage to her stolen car, prosecutors allege.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653

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