Family loses home to fire

Teen son is exonerated

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A Camas teen who said he accidentally started a fire at his parent’s house has been exonerated, at least for the time being.

Brian Murray, 19, was arrested Wednesday, for first-degree reckless burning — a class C felony. He had been on supervised release since Thursday.

“We may file charges at a later date,” Clark County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Patrick Robinson said Monday. “We needed more time to review all reports related to the case.”

Crews were dispatched April 30, at 12:41 p.m., to 3627 N.W. Sierra Drive. Approximately 25 personnel on nine units from the Camas-Washougal Fire Department, Vancouver Fire Department and East County Fire and Rescue, were at the scene. Camas police officers also responded, to monitor road closures and detours.

The home is owned by Alan Murray and his wife Pat Jensen.

According to the probable cause declaration, Brian said he was trying to burn his bank statements. He had been scheduled to leave Monday for Army boot camp.

Brian put bank statements on dirt under the deck, and he put a rock on top of them so they would not blow away. He grabbed a gas can and poured less than a cup of gasoline on 15 to 20 full envelopes. Brian put the gas can behind him, approximately 4 to 6 feet away from the paperwork.

After lighting the statements on fire, he felt warmth behind him.

“He turned around and discovered the gas can was on fire,” the probable cause sheet stated. “The flame was going down the nozzle and engulfing the entire can.”

As Brian was moving the can, gas dripped on his right ankle, burning him. He dropped the can, and it landed near a punching bag hanging from the deck.

The fire quickly spread to the punching bag.

Alan told police there had been a paper shredder in the home, and he did not know why his son would burn the statements instead of using the shredder.

Friends of the Murray family gathered Friday night at the site of the fire, to show support for Brian as the prosecutor was in the process of determining whether to charge him.

Kelly Grall’s son, John, wrestled with him last year.

“He is a really good kid,” she said Monday, regarding Brian. “This whole thing has just devastated him and his family.”

One of the C-W firefighters who responded to the house fire was treated for a minor injury and released from PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, in Vancouver.

According to C-W Fire Marshal Ron Schumacher, a house located south of the Murray home had some blistering of the paint on its siding.

“There was also a picture window that was damaged, on the south side,” he said Monday. “To the north there was no physical damage, but the homeowner said that his house smelled a little like smoke.”