Man Facing Arson Charges in Apartment Fire - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Man Facing Arson Charges in Apartment Fire

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KENNEWICK, Wash--  Neighbors were quick to tell police officers they had seen 49-year-old Richard Hammer leaving the Kamiakin Apartments right as the fire started.

Neighbors tell KNDU Hammer lived on the first floor of the 'D' building; the same building that went up in flames.  While officers were still at the apartments, Hammer returned, this time with visible injuries.  He told officers he got in an assault with a bat. 

At this time it is not known why or how the fire was started, but officers say it is the neighbors' that are to thank for finding their suspect.

"They were kind of talking to residents and were told the suspect was seen leaving the area right as the fire had started," says officer Shirrell Veitenheimer of the Kennewick Police Department.  "He had even said 'you better call police.'  That suspect later returned to the scene where he was arrested after further investigation."

Hammer was taken to Kadlec Medical Center for his injuries.  Officers say this isn't his first run-in with the law.  He's currently in custody for first degree arson.