Arson is suspected after a four-alarm fire on Monday destroyed about 25 units and caused an estimated $3 million in damages at Airport Self Storage in Salem, Ore. No injuries were reported. Tristan Sillman, 22, was arrested on multiple charges of second-degree arson and first-degree criminal mischief, according to a source.
Firefighters responded to the blaze at 2142 Turner Road S.E. about 6 p.m., but it took several hours to extinguish. A witness told police he had observed Sillman shoot a flare into the air. After the witness confronted him, Sillman allegedly fired another flare toward the storage units. The flare landed in a unit through a void near the roof, a source reported.
Following witness interviews and crime-scene processing, police found Sillman on Tuesday at Cascades Gateway Park near the storage facility. Investigators believe he was living in the park.
The suspect told police he purchased a flare gun from Walmart several days before the fire, but a loss-prevention officer at the store told investigators the man was captured on video stealing a flare gun and cartridge refill. Sillman later admitted to police that he fired the flare gun toward the self-storage facility, according to a source.
Sillman was arraigned on Wednesday. Bail was set at $20,000. He’s next scheduled to appear in court on May 17.
Airport Self Storage is locally owned and managed by Vancouver, Wash.-based Cedartree Management Co. The facility offers zero-contact online rentals and is open seven days per week.
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