A vacant building that went up in flames Aug. 27 at the corner of Pacific Highway S. and S. 279th St. in Federal Way. Fire investigators declared the blaze to be an arson. Photo courtesy of South King Fire Commissioner Bill Fuller

A vacant building that went up in flames Aug. 27 at the corner of Pacific Highway S. and S. 279th St. in Federal Way. Fire investigators declared the blaze to be an arson. Photo courtesy of South King Fire Commissioner Bill Fuller

Renton man possibly connected to Federal Way arsons

Officers found several lighters and butane fuel in his possession while arresting the man on Aug. 28.

A Renton man possibly connected to several recent arson fires in Federal Way has been charged with attempted residential burglary for an Aug. 28 incident during which officers found several lighters and butane fuel in his possession.

Scott Michael Taylor, 44, has been charged with attempted residential burglary and is being held in lieu of $50,000 bail at SCORE jail. The alleged residential burglary occurred while Taylor was on community custody for a felony warrant of second-degree arson for two July fires, according to King County Prosecutors.

Community custody is part of an individual’s court-mandated confinement that is served in the community, as opposed to in jail.

Taylor’s past felony convictions include a second-degree arson charge in 2014, a 2007 residential burglary, and a violation of a no-contact order in 2000 and 1999, among others.

“The defendant has proven that he poses a danger to the community and should also be considered a flight risk,” charging documents said.

According to the charging documents:

At about 7:37 a.m. Aug. 28, a neighbor reported an active residential burglary taking place in the 28000 block of 5th Avenue S. in Federal Way, and reported seeing a man and a woman fleeing on foot from the house. The suspects were carrying a backpack and a dufflebag. Soon after, responding officers arrested the male suspect — identified as Taylor — and the female suspect.

The homeowner of the burglary said he and his wife had been watching TV in their second-floor bedroom when they heard a loud thump from the bathroom. As the homeowner opened the bathroom door, he alleged saw Taylor was half inside the residence via a window. Taylor allegedly then pushed himself out of the window and ran away.

Chairs were later found to be stacked below the bathroom window.

Officers conducted a search of the suspects upon arrest and found several lighters and a tank of Ronson brand butane fuel inside the backpack Taylor had been wearing at the time of arrest. A “homemade smoking device” believed to be drug paraphernalia was also found inside the backpack. Searching the suspect’s duffle bag, officers found several counterfeit U.S. bills and a “white powdery substance” believed to be fentanyl or ccoaine; Taylor alleged the baggy contained “plaster dust.”

The female suspect allegedly told police she and Taylor were in a relationship and that Taylor was “high on crystal meth,” which is his “drug of choice.” She later allegedly admitted to police she had stacked the chairs outside of the second-story window and that she also had attempted to climb into the bathroom through the window.

Taylor was booked into SCORE jail for a felony warrant for second-degree arson.

“Taylor is currently the subject of several recent arson investigations in the area of which this burglary occurred,” documents said.

The ongoing arson investigations include a July 22 brush fire set closely to a power station near the 29200 block of 18th Avenue S. in Federal Way and a residential fire in the same area that was set about 30 minutes after the brush fire on July 22.

“The Federal Way Police and King County Sheriff’s Office fire investigators also received information from an associate of Taylor’s that Taylor confessed to starting the fires on July 22, 2020,” documents said.

Text messages and nearby graffiti containing Taylor and the female suspect’s names found near the site of the fires also lead investigators to believe the two may have been staying at the location as they are homeless.

Around 3 a.m. Aug. 27, an abandoned commercial building in the 27900 block of Pacific Highway S. went up in flames. Police located Taylor in the area about 20 minutes after the fire began.

On Aug. 28, Taylor told detectives he had been walking in the area of the fire, but “Taylor denied being involved in the fires and refused to speak any further about the fire incidents with detectives.”

Charging documents also state: “It should be noted that Taylor was in possession of several lighters and butane fuel at the time of his arrest … Taylor had possession of the tools needed to start another fire in a structure if he so chose to do with the [homeowner’s] residence.”

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