Orcas man charged with arson

Tyson C. Royal, 35, of Eastsound has pleaded not guilty after being charged with arson in the second degree in San Juan County Superior Court.

His arraignment was held on Oct. 2. Public defender Alex Frix represents him.

An Orcas deputy responded to an arson investigation on Sept. 10 after an interior wall of the Eastsound Post Office building was set on fire. It was called in that morning after the wall with paper flyers detailing community events and items for sale was discovered to have sustained fire damage.

According to the deputy’s report, “It was apparent from the scene that the culprit had lit several of the flyers on fire. The burn pattern appeared to start at approximately 3 feet from the floor and approximately 3 feet wide. The burn pattern then traveled the natural path of convection and conduction, consuming several flyers as it traveled up the wall. Some of the charring of the wall was significant and appeared to have continued burning independently of the ignition source. The charring continues upward, reaching approximately 9 feet high.”

After obtaining surveillance footage from nearby businesses, Royal is seen entering the building at 1:47 a.m., leaving and then entering again at 2 a.m. Light flickers inside the building, smoke appears to block out the window and a few minutes later, Royal leaves again.

Royal’s previous convictions include two counts of possessing a controlled substance in Skagit County; malicious mischief in the third degree, DUI and assault in the fourth degree in San Juan County; resisting arrest in Anacortes; and possessing stolen property in the second degree in Whatcom County.