Olga fire not arson; Orcas burglaries being investigated

The weeks leading up to Christmas have been action-packed for local law enforcement.

In the early morning hours of Dec. 4, Orcas Fire and Rescue and San Juan County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a structure fire in the Olga area that was initially deemed suspicious. It has since been ruled accidental.

“It is my understanding the fire appeared to start at or around the electrical box. The homeowner verified they were having problems of late with the electrical wiring in the home,” said Sheriff Ron Krebs.

On the way to the fire, a resident of the house stood in the roadway, blocking responders from the scene.

“This is why we thought it (the fire) was suspicious. Turns out it was just coincidental and he was having a break from reality at the moment,” Krebs said.

Later, after the man was placed in the fire chief’s vehicle, he yanked on the steering wheel en route to the station, causing the car to veer off the roadway. He was arrested for assault in the third degree and brought to jail on San Juan Island. After being released from court on Dec. 5, he jumped off a ferry while docked in Friday Harbor. According to Krebs, he was taken into custody on a mental health hold and transported to the hospital where he was turned over to Compass Health.

The sheriff’s office is currently investigating a string of burglaries on Orcas. Three businesses in Eastsound and one in West Sound reported break-ins. Cash, merchandise and power tools were stolen. Eastsound residences also reportedly suffered burglaries.

There are no suspects at this time and the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 360-378-4151.