Suspected Portland arsonist pleads not guilty

Multnomah County

Allen Singerhouse is suspected of setting multiple fire across Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Allen Singerhouse pleaded not guilty to multiple arson charges, despite court documents revealing he had admitted to starting various fires when questioned by detectives.

In court via video arraignment on Tuesday, his attorney pleaded not guilty on his behalf. However, court documents revealed that when first questioned, Singerhouse denied any involvement in these fires — but once detectives confronted him again, he admitted to starting the 3 fires in question as well as various others around the area.

Dozens of cars were destroyed in a 4-alarm fire in Northeast Portland fire on August 26, 2019. (KOIN)

Detectives said the 4-alarm fire Singerhouse is suspected of setting caused an enormous amount of damage. The Northeast 85th and Siskiyou Street fire destroyed a townhouse, a gym, and dozens of cars.

“The financial cost of this fire is estimated at over $2 million without including the cost of city resources utilized and the inconvenience to the public,” said Detective Meredith Hopper.

Once he was arrested on November 21, detectives began tying him to other unsolved fires over the years.

Detective Hopper said several tips led them to identify Allen Singerhouse after surveillance footage was made public.

In a press conference held on November 26, Portland Fire and Rescue and the Portland Police Bureau detailed the arrest of the 39-year-old, who they said caused some of the “most devastating arson crimes to hit Portland in recent memory.”

Police said the suspect is linked not only to the August blaze but also 2 dumpster fires in the area, including one set at Concordia University.

Allen Singerhouse is suspected of starting the fire near Northeast 85th and Siskiyou Street on August 26, 2019. (Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office)

“This is a historic arrest of an arsonist who is dangerous and has shown no regard for the safety of others,” said PPB Deputy Chief Jami Resch. “He is connected to cases which have had a significant negative impact on our community.”

Court documents stated he could not explain why he lit the fires after admitting to them.

“There are few moments in a person’s career where such an operation is so significant that the arrest of a suspect has a profound impact on the city at large,” said Fire Chief Sara Boone. “This prolific arsonist instilled fear throughout the public domain and threatened the welfare of communities across the city.”

Singerhouse will be back in court in January 2020.

KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.

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