Navy investigators search for serial arsonist targeting military families in Washington state

An on-base house at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island that was targeted by the arsonist. Photo credit: GoFundMe

Police are investigating a string of at least three arsons at military housing units near Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

The last fire occurred right after Christmas, while many of the residents were still away for the holidays. While visiting family in Arizona, newlyweds Ryan and Shannon Sharland received a call that their house was on fire.

Ryan is a 19-year-old Navy Airman. He and his 18-year-old wife lost everything they worked for — including their two kittens. Their town home sits just outside the gates of NAS Whidbey Island.

Four other military families also lost their homes. Officials say the December incident was the latest in a string of fires intentionally set at housing units near the Navy base.  They also said, each one has been more destructive than the last.

All of this began several months back. From September to October, houses and trash bins next to military homes were intentionally ignited, but officials could not disclose how the fires were set.

NCIS is now leading a federal investigation to determine who is behind it, and whether Navy families are being specifically targeted. Capt. Michael Nortier told KIRO-TV it’s possible that the culprit is one of their own.

Authorities are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in the cases. You may call the following hotline number with information: 360-257-3359, or text a tip to: 27463.

Anonymous tips can also be made to the NCIS website at NCIS.navy.mil.

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  • Michele graduated with a B.S. in Telecommunication from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. She has spent numerous years working in the news industry in south Florida, including many positions ranging from being a news writer at WSVN, the Fox affiliate in Miami to being an associate news producer at WPLG-TV, the ABC affiliate in Miami. Michele has also worked in Public Relations and Marketing.

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