Richland Fred Meyer arsonist pleads not guilty; started fire whi - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Richland Fred Meyer arsonist pleads not guilty; started fire while on work release

Posted: Updated:

2-1-18 UPDATE:

KENNEWICK, WA - The man accused of intentionally starting the fire inside Richland's Fred Meyer store appeared in court today for his arraignment. 35-year-old Daniel Wright appeared in the Benton County Superior Court this morning and pleaded not guilty for first degree arson.

He turned himself in 30 minutes after starting the fire. Police arrested a second suspect Monday afternoon near Zintel Canyon in Kennewick. The damage to Fred Meyer and its merchandise is estimated to be in the millions of dollars, but the store is now back open.

The arson charges isn't Wright's first run-in with the law. He had already been serving time for four felony charges including trying to sell a stolen car, drug charges and a theft - all from last summer. He was out on work release when he allegedly started the fire last Friday.

Wright's next court appearance is scheduled for February 28th. His bail remains at $100,000.

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1-29-18 UPDATE:

RICHLAND, WA - The Richland Fred Meyer store is back open after police say an arsonist started a fire in the home section Friday night.

The store experienced losses in the clothing department and in the home aisle. They are currently working on getting a dollar figure for the exact amount of losses the store suffered as a result of the fire.

The fire began Friday night when Richland Police say 35-year-old Daniel Wright went into the store and intentionally set fire to items inside.

Surveillance footage then showed him and one other man leaving Fred Meyer. Earlier today, Richland Police found and arrested the second suspect, identified as 33-year-old Eliseo James Garcia.

"When we were on sight it was about 1:00 in the morning on Saturday," said Dale Smith, a Northwest Restoration estimator. "It was pretty smokey inside; there was an isle that was burnt pretty badly.  A lot of water damage, smoke and water damage was most of the problem in the building. Some damage to the ceiling, we're doing painting right now to try and cover that up."

Almost all the damages have been fully repaired and the store is now up and running. The Northwest Restoration crew is currently working on painting the ceiling. They estimate the repairs will be done by today.

"The physical damage was over in the home department, where the fire started," said Chris Meagher, the store manager. "It took out several fixtures, melted some glass, and went up into the ceiling...damaged some of the ceiling and lighting. As far as product, with the dollar amount, it's probably going to be apparel. All the clothing received smoke damage."

The store closed through the weekend, but is back to its normal hours of operation.

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1-27-18 ORIGINAL STORY:
RICHLAND, WA - 35-year-old Daniel Wright of West Richland has been arrested and booked into the Benton County Jail on a 72-hour hold following a fire at the Wellsian Way Fred Meyer on Friday night. 

At 9:24 p.m. on Friday, a man, believed to be Wright, intentionally set fire to items inside the north end of the Fred Meyer. He then left the store, along with another man wearing a dark-colored jacket (as seen in the photo attached to this article).

Police have not found the second man, and are still investigating.

If you know anything about this case, you can call police at at 628-0333 or email Detective Stohel at hstohel@ci.richland.wa.us.

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