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Crime & Courts

Arrest made in Hillside brush fire after man found near second suspicious blaze

  • Author: Zaz Hollander
  • Updated: September 4
  • Published September 4

Authorities this week charged a 29-year-old man with starting a small brush fire in the woods behind Service High School last month after police found him Tuesday near another fire in South Anchorage.

Phillip Maxwell Barger faces felony arson charges as well as criminally negligent burning, failing to put out the fires and reckless endangerment, according to a complaint filed in Anchorage District Court.

Barger was arrested Tuesday morning after a witness reported him watching a tree on fire near Abbott Road, according to the complaint. Anchorage firefighters put out the fire. Officers found Barger nearby.

He told them he’d started two fires near Service “on two sides of himself” to stay warm, the document says. He also said he’d started the fire that spread to the tree but tried to put it out with his sweater and fled when he couldn’t.

Barger was in custody at the Anchorage jail on Wednesday. He was being held on $10,000 cash bail.

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