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Police warn of health concerns after suspect allegedly blocks vents outside Missoula homes

Missoula Police Department vehicle.
Cheri Trusler
Missoula Police Department vehicle.

Missoula police say there is a “significant health and safety concern” following the arrest of a man on charges of arson and assault of a peace officer early Thursday morning.

Police say suspect Sean Staples claims to have tampered with homes by stuffing socks into vents and exposed pipes. Blocked vents could cause carbon monoxide to build up. Staples allegedly claimed he blocked vents in two houses.

Missoula police ask residents in the Lewis and Clark neighborhood to the area of South Third and Russell streets to inspect any external vents or exhaust ports. Police ask residents who find obstructions to call 911.

Staples was arrested after police say he lit a tree on fire and threatened responding officers with gasoline while holding a lighter.

Staples has been charged with six counts of arson and two counts of assault of a peace officer, according to Missoula Police Department news release.

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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