Large fire that damaged 5 buildings in Olympia deemed arson, police looking to ID persons of interest

Investigators determined that a large fire that damaged five buildings in downtown Olympia back in December was arson. 

Crews responded to a report of a commercial fire around 5:00 a.m. at 302 Capitol Way North on Dec. 15. The building was a 5-story residential project that was still under construction.

"It was a big fireball that just kind of blasted up in the air," said Tim Jenson, who witnessed the massive fire. "Within about 60 seconds it had expanded to cover about half the roof."

Kevin Bossard, assistant chief of operations with the Olympia Fire Department, told The Olympian the building is a total loss.

Fire officials said the fire started in the five-story building and spread to four other buildings. No injuries were reported.

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Crews battled a three-alarm fire Wednesday in Olympia. (Credit: East Olympia Fire District 6)

Among the other buildings nearby that were damaged were Pete Lea’s Automotive Medical Center and August Creative, a web design consultant.

Damage is estimated to be between $5 million and $7 million. 

The ATF has released photos of ‘persons of interest’ in the case. They are offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the fire.

Anyone with information on the person or persons responsible for the fire should contact ATF at 1-888-ATF-TIPS (888-283-8477), email, or contact ATF through its website.  

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Several GoFundMe's have been created to help the Olympia businesses and residents impacted by the fire:

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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