Washington Dentist Arrested, Charged with Arson After Office Fire

April 3, 2020

A Bellevue, Washington, dentist was accused of using lighter fluid and accelerant to set fires in his exam and X-ray rooms after being evicted from his office for failing to pay rent, King County prosecutors said.

Mohammad “Matt” Rafie, 53, was arrested at the scene and charged with first-degree arson in connection with the March 23 fire at his Bellgrove Medical Park office, the Seattle Times reported Tuesday.

Bellevue Fire Department believes the fire was intentionally set after discovering three individual fires inside the office and the smell of accelerants.

“The defendant’s actions in this case reflect a desperate man willing to put others at risk to get what he wants,” Deputy Prosecutor Aubony Burns said, noting the 28 separate medical and dental offices located at the three-story park, some of which were occupied at the time of the fires.

During the investigation, a police dog detected accelerants on clothing in his home and in every room of his office.

Rafie posted $25,000 bail following his arrest and posted $100,000 bail Thursday after prosecutors requested a higher amount, authorities said. His arraignment is scheduled for May 7.

Rafie did not return a phone message left at his Kirkland residence.

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