By Steve Guntli
Blaine police have arrested a man in connection with a house fire that may have been an attempted suicide.
Neighbors called 911 at 5:20 p.m. on Monday, November 10, after observing flames and smoke coming from inside a house at 437 D Street. Blaine police officers responded to the scene within minutes of the call. On arrival, they saw an unconscious man lying on the floor inside the house. Breaking down a door, Blaine police officer Tim Richardson entered the house and pulled the man to safety, with the help of a Border Patrol agent.
Upon regaining consciousness, the man became upset when he realized he’d been rescued from the fire, saying he had intended to die. He became combative and police had to restrain him, said Blaine police chief Mike Haslip. The man admitted to being the owner of the house. Whatcom County assessor records indicate that the owner of the property is Samuel G. Schwinck.
Firefighters arrived on the scene and extinguished the blaze in under 30 minutes. Aid personnel treated the suspect at the scene before taking him by ambulance to PeaceHealth St. Joseph hospital, where he was evaluated and treated for minor injuries. The one-story house is expected to be a write-off, though the exterior still stood. The structure was assessed to be worth around $72,000.
The Whatcom County Fire Marshal office has begun an arson investigation with assistance from the Blaine police, and North Whatcom Fire and Rescue.