Man charged for Pearl District condo fire

86-unit condo building not seriously damaged

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A 24-year-old man is accused of trying to damage an 86-unit condo building in the Pearl District by causing a fire and explosion.

Officials tell us that Michael Aaron Swathwood was taken into custody on Wednesday and charged with two counts of attempted first-degree arson.

Portland Fire & Rescue responded to the 2100 block of Northwest Irving Street on Feb. 25 on reports of a fire and explosion. When crews arrived, they found evidence to indicate the fire had been intentionally set.

There was no significant damage, but officials said the incident “represented a threat of serious physical injury.”

Swathwood appeared in court on Thursday where a not guilty plea was entered on his behalf. He remains in custody with bail set at $40,000.

Court records out of Indiana show that Swathwood was convicted in 2014 of criminal mischief. Details about the case were not immediately available.

Records show that Swathwood is homeless and may suffer mental health illness.

Court records show that Swathwood said “the voices were telling me to lite the fire, so I lit the fire. When I listen to the voices I feel better.”