Homeless man charged with four counts of arson, bail set at $250K

James Goad allegedly set multiple fires in Renton, Tukwila and unincorporated King County.

A man suspected of starting multiple fires in Renton, Tukwila and around unincorporated King County was charged with four counts of second-degree arson on Sept. 8.

A bail was set for $250,000 for 40-year-old James Goad, who reportedly set fires that caused an estimated total damage of $500,000, according to charging documents.

Goad was booked into King County jail on Sept. 6. He is believed to be homeless.

Court documents report the bail was initially set at $25,000 during Goad’s first appearance, but once more evidence was gathered regarding the number of fires he allegedly started, the state requested the bail to be set at $250,000.

Goad is accused of setting fire to two semitractors on Aug. 28 at Beacon Coal Mine Road. Investigators found the fire was initially set in the sleeper of a semi with the fire extending to another semi next to it. Both vehicles were reported to have extensive damage. All combustible materials in both vehicles were consumed. The fire also damaged the rear of a cargo box in front of the sleeper semi. The owner of the property said they had been having problems with homeless people coming onto the property and getting into the parked vehicles.

Another fire was set at the same property on Sept. 5. A witness reported seeing Goad setting the seat of a track hoe (backhoe used for a railroad) on fire. When Goad tried to set a cab on fire, he was interrupted by the witness. The witness reported Goad threatened him with steel ball bearing that he later dropped on the road. Goad reportedly told the witness, “You can’t stop me and I will do it again.”

King County Sheriff’s Office set up a K9 unit to track Goad, but the unit was unable to locate him. He was believed to have escaped southbound along Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad track line that ran parallel to Beacon Coal Mine Toad.

Investigators found a large manual was set on fire that had been on the floor board of the Peterbilt semi, and that someone had attempted to light the seat of the track hoe parked 40 feet away from the semi. Shoe prints leading from the semi to the track hoe were also found on the scene.

BNSF Railroad Police, who were also investigating the arson, informed investigators an air card, along with a Dell laptop, was taken from one of the burned vehicles, and that they were able to track it to the woods along Beacon Coal Mine Road.

Investigators found Goad under a brown tarp in the wooded area. He was placed under arrest. Investigators found shoes with a tread pattern identical to the one found in the previous scene. They also found multiple BNSF safety jacket, BNSF pens, and a pair of BNFS boots. All the items were taken from the burned BNSF truck.

Tukwila Fire Department was investigating two arsons that occurred on Aug. 28 and Sept. 4. One of the arsons involved a BNSF railroad boom truck that was parked on a rail siding and had an estimated loss of $250,000. The other one involved a semitractor and a building, with estimated loss of $75,000

Goad is also the prime suspect of two fires started in Renton, including a pickup in the Republic Recycling that was set on fire and a fire set inside a building.

He has been previously charged with violation of the uniform controlled substance act and criminal mischief in Arkansas, as well as riding outside of train and resisting arrest in Illinois.

His arraignment is set for Sept. 21 at Kent’s Regional Justice Center.


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