Kenai man arrested for Safeway arson

A Kenai man has been arrested and charged with arson after an early-morning incident at Kenai’s Safeway store.

Kenai Police responded to the store around 12:15 a.m. Thursday after management requested they remove someone who had started multiple fires from the business, according to a Kenai Police Department press release. Sean Mills, 26, was arrested and taken to the Wildwood Pretrial Facility. He faces seven charges including first-degree arson, criminal mischief and several minor assault charges, according to online court records.

He had an arraignment scheduled for Thursday morning at the Kenai Courthouse, and his arraignment was continued over to Friday.

“Witnesses in the store reported that just prior to police arrival, (Mills) had used an aerosol can and a lighter as a flame thrower to start a fire in the store, and had started more than one fire in the store,” the release states. “Two witnesses attempted to subdue the suspect and at least one of those obtained a minor injury.”

A Safeway employee also attempted to put out one of the fires in the store and was injured, according to the release.

Mills first fled from officers when they arrived, and was later apprehended, said Sgt. Paul Cushman.

“He was pursued from the store,” Cushman said. “He ran from the store as officers arrived. Obviously at that time we didn’t know who it was.”

Cushman said officers were able to get Mills’ identity when they caught him.

The Kenai Fire Department responded to Safeway to put out the fires, but employees had already extinguished them, according to the release. The building was also evacuated, though Cushman could not say for how long. A representative for Safeway did not return a call for comment by the time of publication.

This story will be updated with further details as they become available.

Reach Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@peninsulaclarion.com.

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