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Lynden tire store owner charged with arson after police investigation

Prosecutors say Kerry Bolton was in debt and burned down his own business.

LYNDEN, Wash. — The owner of a Lynden tire store is charged with burning down his own business after security footage showed a different version of events than the business owner told police.

When investigators arrived at Bolton Tire Service the night of July 16, they said owner Kerry Bolton told them he had been filling up a generator with gas when it caught fire.

However, court documents obtained by KING 5 News tell a different story.

At 11:09 p.m., surveillance video shows the suspect spraying a fire extinguisher, but there is "no fire present."

Thirteen minutes later, flames appear.

Over the next seven minutes, the "fire is increasing in intensity," with Bolton still inside.

Twenty-three minutes after spraying the fire extinguisher, investigators say the suspect "calls 911."

After additional investigation, prosecutors determined the business owner was five months behind in his rent to the tune of $34,375.

They say he was about to be "evicted at the end of the month" and "had nowhere to move."

The documents also state a neighbor told investigators the suspect told him, "I should burn Bolton Tire down."

After the fire, the suspect went to Facebook to post his thanks to the community for their outpouring of support. Dozens of people posted responses saying they were praying for him. 

Nine days later Bolton posted again, asking for "a recommendation for an attorney."

Kerry Bolton now stands charged with first-degree arson.

Investigators also determined Bolton declared bankruptcy in 2017 and made an insurance claim for more than $130,000 shortly after the fire. 

The property owner confirms Bolton had been asked to "relocate." 

What's left of the building is set to be razed and replaced by a hotel and restaurant this fall.

KING 5 News reached out to Bolton for comment but did not get a response.

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