A man accused of starting a brush fire on state Route 167 in Puyallup was out of jail less than two hours before he was arrested a second time.
On Friday, Pierce County prosecutors charged Jeffrey Acord, 36, with second-degree arson for allegedly starting a fire Wednesday that burned nearly two acres in the Route 167 median near North Meridian.
He was scheduled to be arraigned in Superior Court on Friday afternoon.
An off-duty Fife police sergeant was traveling north on North Meridian about 1:50 p.m. when he spotted a Chevrolet pickup truck parked on the shoulder of Route 167. Almost immediately, the truck merged back onto the highway.
“I soon noticed that there was a small fire starting to grow in the dry grass directly next to the location where the pickup truck had been stopped,” Fife police Sgt. Kevin Farris said.
Since the blaze was barely three feet wide and just starting to smoke, Farris said he knew it had just started.
He called in the fire then pulled over the truck, which was driven by Acord.
“The guy was live streaming (on Facebook) like he found the fire,” Trooper Ryan Burke said. “He was trying to make it look like he didn’t do it.”
In the 40:19-minute video, Acord shows the smoke and growing fire and narrates his interaction with law enforcement.
“I’m out here on 167 right now . Looks like a fire literally just started and I rolled up on it,” he said. “Right now it looks like it’s going crazy. I’m here with the police. They’re talking to me about it because I just called it in and that’s when they seen me pulling off.”
Acord allegedly told police he spotted the fire and stopped, then called 911 to report it.
However, he could not provide the cell phone he used so officers could verify that he called 911, court records say.
When Acord mentioned that he’d been stopped that morning by a trooper who believed he was starting fires, the Fife sergeant called for backup from Puyallup police.
Turns out passersby called 911 about 9 a.m. to report seeing a man — later identified as Acord — crouching in the median of Route 167 between Sumner and Auburn with a cigarette lighter in his hands.
When a trooper went to speak with him, she was unable to verify that he was trying to start a brush fire so she let him go.
Acord told troopers he’d lost a $1,200 camera while riding his motorcycle and was walking the shoulder of the highway looking for it, according to charging papers.
Police noticed he seemed nervous while speaking with officers.
When Acord was arrested on suspicion of reckless burning, he “was highly agitated and cursed at the officers,” records say.
He was booked into Puyallup City Jail and posted bail about 1:45 a.m.
At 2:11 a.m., Puyallup police responded to a break-in at a convenience store about three blocks from the police station.
Someone had kicked in a window covered with plywood and stolen drinks and snacks, police Capt. Jason Visnaw said.
While reviewing surveillance video, two officers allegedly recognized Acord as the burglar because they’d just spoken to him when he was released from jail.
“He had talked to officers 10 to 15 minutes before to ask how to get his wallet back from his previous booking,” Visnaw said.
Acord was arrested nearby, less than two hours after he posted bail for the arson arrest.
He was booked into Pierce County Jail on suspicion of second-degree burglary.
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