ARLINGTON, Wash. -- The woman arrested for arson in connection with Monday's fire that destroyed a 115-year-old building in downtown Arlington is now held on $500,000 bail. Police arrested the 53-year-old Thursday.
Investigators say on the night of the fire, police and firefighters discovered a small space at the rear of the commercial building that was being used as a residence, despite the fact the building was not permitted for residential use.
One of the stores destroyed in fire, 2 Bits & More Thrift Shop, had created an apartment in a back storage area and was renting it out, said City of Arlington spokesperson Kristin Banfield.
Detectives interviewed the "tenant" of the space and learned that he and the suspect - his estranged wife - had argued earlier that evening. Fifteen minutes after they argued, she reportedly called him and threatened to burn down his residence.
Arlington police detectives later obtained evidence that confirmed she had returned to the residence just after 7 p.m. and left about five minutes later. The fire was discovered moments later.
The woman has a history of domestic violence and assault. She has also failed to appear in court at least 32 times, according to court records. She faces a charge of first-degree arson and domestic violence.
KING 5 News is not naming the defendant because she has not yet been formally charged.
The building, built in the late 1800s-early 1900s, was one of the oldest in Arlington and has had many remodels since, which made the fire difficult to fight. No was one injured, but about a dozen residents who live in adjacent apartments have been displaced.
Fire officials estimate the fire damage at $465,000.
Photos: Downtown Arlington fire