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House burns second time

Homeless man in custody


Grand Coulee volunteer firefighters enter a burned out house where a homeless man started a fire Monday. — Scott Hunter photo

Police arrested a 50-year-old transient after responding to a fire at a small house at 329 Tyne Avenue in Grand Coulee Monday night.

The house had already been partially gutted by fire two years ago, and had been boarded up.

Police officers Gary Moore and Joe Higgs arrived at the fire site at the same time as firefighters and discovered that there was someone in the house.

Trang Hoa Minh exited the house and refused to tell officers if there was anyone else inside.

Officers learned that Minh had pried off a plywood cover over one of the doors to gain entrance to the building and then had lit a small fire to keep warm.

When firemen arrived, smoke was coming out of the top of the house and from around the eaves.

A search of Minh’s addresses included notations of having been in Cambodia, Vietnam and the Virgin Islands. He told officers at the time of his arrest that he was homeless and didn’t have an address.

Minh is being charged with residential burglary and reckless burning and was booked into Grant County Jail.

The fire was reported shortly after 7 p.m. Monday night by Flint Bjorson.

A request made by officers of any criminal history of Minh turned up a lengthy report of vandalism, trespass and several felony charges.

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