Port Angeles police investigators examine evidence at the scene of a garage fire in the 100 block of East Fifth Street that authorities suspect was caused by arson. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Angeles police investigators examine evidence at the scene of a garage fire in the 100 block of East Fifth Street that authorities suspect was caused by arson. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Arson suspected in Port Angeles garage fire

Woman to have first court appearance Monday

PORT ANGELES — A 29-year-old Port Angeles woman is expected to have her first Clallam County Superior Court appearance Monday following her arrest Friday for investigation of burglary and arson.

A resident of the property at 105 E. Fifth St. said the woman was in a garage shortly before smoke was seen billowing from the structure early Thursday afternoon, according to the probable cause statement.

The structure appeared to remain intact. Port Angeles Fire Department officials were unavailable for comment Saturday afternoon.

The resident, who said she knows the woman, took her photo while she was on her property, according to the statement by city Police Officer Ron Cameron.

The garage damaged by the fire is across from the Port Angeles Fire Department station and on one of three adjacent parcels owned by former Superior Court Judge Brian Coughenour. The property has been the target of numerous city code-enforcement complaints over abandoned vehicles and debris.

The resident called 9-1-1 to report the blaze shortly after 2 p.m. Thursday, saying the woman may have set the fire and had been trespassing there for two days, the first day entering the resident’s home without permission, according to Cameron’s statement.

When confronted, the woman “did not say anything and did not seem to process anything [the resident] was saying” before leaving the house, the resident said.

The woman returned Thursday, going into the garage, which is a spare bedroom, according to the statement.

The resident found her there “going through things and painting her nails,” before being told again to leave, the resident said.

An hour later, the woman knocked on the resident’s door and asked her “if she knew what was happening off the back porch and left,” the statement said.

The resident saw the black smoke and called authorities.

A neighbor said the woman was on the property a week earlier looking for former resident Cody Coughenour, Brian Coughenour’s son, according to the statement.

She was booked without bail into the county jail at 9 a.m. Friday for investigation of second-degree burglary and first-degree arson.

The woman’s address was listed as homeless in the probable cause statement.

________

Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

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