2 men charged with arson for Yakima house fire

The men accused of causing a house fire that displaced a family of 11 have been charged with first-degree arson.

Yakima residents Benjamin Apple, 19, and Joshua Bena, 18, allegedly caused a mailbox explosion that led to a local house burning down on Oct. 2, the Yakima Herald-Republic reports.

They made their first appearances in Yakima County Superior Court on Tuesday morning. An arraignment was scheduled for Mar. 21.

Fire officials considered the fire suspicious at the time of the incident, adding that it seemed to be started by “human behavior.”

Afterward a neighbor mentioned he had a surveillance video that caught some of the incident, police said.

The video showed two explosions. One shot flares up to 40 feet in the air, police said.

Fire department spokesman Jeff Pfaff said a mortar firework caused the fire.

A garage on the property was destroyed along with the house, firefighters said.

Damages were an estimated total of $120,000.

The suspects’ reason for choosing the house is unknown.

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