SEATTLE - A string of arsons has people in one Seattle neighborhood looking out for the culprit. The Seattle Fire Department said seven intentional fires were set in the Central District beginning December 4th. Fire investigators are working to determine if any of the arsons are connected.
One of the seven fires was at a residential construction site near the 1100 block of 21st Avenue South. Two piles of debris were set on fire at the location, which one of them signed an exterior wall of the structure. After spending two hours patching up the wall, construction crews got back to work building the homes.
The construction site manager said they plan to install security cameras just in case something like this happens again. He also mentioned there is a $10,000 rewards for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone who has details is encouraged to call the Seattle Police Department’s Arson and Bomb Squad at 206-684-8980.
People who live and work in the Central District said the uptick in arsons is concerning.
“I don’t like it at all. We have got to do something about that. Let’s nip this before it gets to be something uncontrollable,” said resident Kimberly Mustafa.
Kristin Tinsley, public information officer for the fire department, said two cars and two motorcycles were set on fire. Debris was set on fire, which nearly caused a storage shed near 14th and Jackson to go up in flames.
“Some of these fires were set next to buildings and of course we don’t want any fire to worsen and catch a structure on fire. So, that’s why we want to make sure people are taking steps to prevent arson fires from occurring,” said Tinsley.
Tinsley said it’s unclear why the arsons are happening or who is responsible. Fire investigators are working closely with the police department’s Arson and Bomb Squad to find answers. The fire department is urging community members to call 911 immediately if they see someone starting a fire.
“Obviously, fires are dangerous and they can spread rapidly. So, we want to make sure we get a response sent there as quickly as we can,” said Tinsley.
People in the neighborhood, like Mustafa, said if they see something they’re going to report it.
“For my safety concerns and concerns of others,” said Mustafa. “This is my community.”
It’s a community worth protecting from going up in flames. Tinsley said a good way to reduce fires from spreading to homes and businesses is to clear combustible items like trash, leaves and shrubs that are surrounding the building.
“Also making sure that you have motion sensor lights, securing areas by locking doors, locking windows and making sure dumpster receptacles are placed five feet away from the building,” said Tinsley.