Des Moines woman facing arson charges after Kent strip mall fire


Linda Poplawski, 64, has been charged with first degree arson in connection with a Sunday fire that damaged most of a Kent strip mall.

Poplawski waived her court appearance Monday.

“The defendant set fire to a Dollar Tree where there were 15 to 25 customers inside,” said Alisha Trotter, King County deputy prosecutor. “She made verbal threats about burning down the store. And she did.”

Poplawski’s bail was set at $225,000.

She is to make her second appearance Wednesday.

Kent Regional Fire Authority said 75 firefighters from their agency and South King Fire & Rescue responded to the blaze, which started shortly before 2:30 p.m. in the 23400 block of Pacific Highway South.

All businesses in the mall were damaged, and a few were destroyed, the agency said. The mall has a gym, tobacco shop, dollar store, post office, salon and specialty food store.

“By the time we got out, it was as if someone struck a big match and everything just went up in flames,” Rick Tillman, owner of fitness club, told KIRO. “I ran down and then got everyone out of my health club.”

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