Authorities said the 24-year-old Tacoma man appeared to be unconscious outside the burning garage Dec. 28, his clothes smoking and his hands singed.
Police identified him by his passport, which was found on him. Cameron Steiner, who had unrelated warrants, refused to speak with officers and was arrested. A lighter was allegedly found in his pocket.
Steiner pleaded not guilty to second-degree arson and second-degree burglary Thursday in connection with the fire in the 900 block of South M Street. Pierce County Commissioner Meagan Foley set his bail at $100,000.
Charging documents give this account:
A neighbor called 911 after seeing the garage engulfed in flames and Steiner crawling from the burning structure. Police arrived and spotted Steiner lying 20 feet from the garage. An officer opined that he was pretending to be unconscious.
Investigators determined that the fire had been set with two gallons of gasoline and a lighter fluid can near an upside down lawn mower in the garage. They said Steiner’s injuries “place the defendant inside the garage at the time of the fire,” according to court documents.
A bicycle had also been moved out of the garage.
The woman who owns the home told police she does not know Steiner and doesn’t know why he would be in her garage.