By Pete O’Cain / The Wenatchee World
MANSON, Chelan County — Investigators believe a brush fire here Saturday started after an 18-year-old Everett man used fireworks to blow up a mailbox.
Michael P. Popov was arrested after he told Chelan County sheriff’s deputies he put fireworks inside a mailbox in the area of Grade Creek Road and Joe Creek Road.
The fire was reported about 1:30 p.m. Saturday and grew to 14.5 acres. It only burned brush, but nearby homes in the fire’s path were issued Level 1 evacuation notices.
Fire crews from five local fire districts, the U.S. Forest Service and the state Department of Natural Resources helped extinguish, the affidavit said.
A witness told deputies she saw a black car parked near the mailbox, and then it fled at a high speed after multiple shots or explosions, according to a probable cause affidavit filed Sunday in Chelan County Superior Court.
Deputies stopped a black Volkswagen Jetta driven by Popov shortly thereafter on Grade Creek Road.
Popov told deputies he put three mortars inside a mailbox but he didn’t actually light the fireworks, according to the affidavit. He declined to tell deputies who lit the mortars.
Popov was arrested on suspicion of first-degree arson and third-degree malicious mischief. He was being held at the Chelan County Regional Justice Center.