West Seattle, Washington
As the night ends – with the gutted shop now boarded up, as our sunset photo above shows (earlier photos are in our morning report) – no word of arrests so far in this morning’s arson at Puget Sound Key & Lock (6016 California; map). Call 911 or the arson hotline (800-55-ARSON) with any tips. As we reported this morning, business owner Michael Dein says he had no fire insurance; bighearted, fast-acting WSB Forum members have set up a bank account for donations (any Wells Fargo Bank, account #5358011681.) and are meeting Monday night to discuss plans for a fundraising benefit (get the latest here). Tonight’s second note – remember others were affected, with businesses on each side and apartment residents above – we checked with Eric Renn from West Seattle Digital, a new shop adjacent to PS Key & Lock, and he e-mailed back:
We did suffer minor damage mainly from water, smoke fumes, and broken glass from when the fire fighter’s entered through the front door. I will not know the full extent of damage until the power is turned back on.
Thanks to Arbor Heights Elementary School teacher Mark Ahlness for these photos from last night’s Art Fair and Auction (silent-auction participants shown below) — he says it was an “incredible success”! More fundraisers are on our Events page (including tomorrow night’s Chief Sealth Tamale Dinner for music $).
That spot at the west end of the Alki Beach Promenade is where anyone and everyone interested in the Alki Point sidewalk project is invited to meet at 10 am tomorrow, for a walking tour of the area to be involved in whatever proposal goes forward. To recap, the city approved money last year to do something about the pedestrian-unfriendly conditions on the north side of Alki Ave heading from that spot to Alki Point. Then neighbors who would be directly affected got concerned about what might happen (coverage here and here), and the city’s work took a new turn (coverage here). Tomorrow’s tour, to be facilitated by immediate past Alki Community Council trustee Gary Ogden, will be a prelude to the April 2 community meeting with the city presenting design concepts for feedback.
Just last night, we got a very thoughtful note from a WSB’er concerned that the prolific crime reports of late were leaving people feeling as if West Seattle is a hotbed of evil. Our philosophy is that we believe it’s important to give you the facts – sometimes the facts are that crime is up, sometimes that it’s down, but we believe that “knowledge is power” in tough times as well as good times. Seattle Police online stats only go back through December 2007, so we can’t give you the big picture for this month, or last month, or even January. But know that everything runs in cycles and the best way to keep those cycles down is to stay alert, as we’ve discussed lately. All that said — GOOD NEWS – we just reviewed Southwest Precinct reports from Tuesday through late last night, and there’s barely a burglary in the bunch. Could mean the recent arrests got the major culprits off the street — could be a coincidence — but whatever the case, we wanted to let you know. Here’s what else we found, including an arrest that solved some house/car window shootings:Read More
Drinking just plain water is great for your health. Drinking just plain water out of a plastic bottle can be a challenge to the environment’s health. See the bottle at left (shown off by Alki resident Shauna Causey at last night’s Alki Community Council meeting)? Imagine your disposable plastic water bottle a quarter-full with oll; a water-policy expert says that’s the equivalent of the average energy cost to make the plastic for the bottle, transport it to market, then deal with the waste. So Shauna and others are asking you to join in Water Without Waste Month — keep drinking water, but get it out of the tap, or filter it, and drink it from reusable containers. (This is separate from the mayor’s city-government order to bag the bottles, but same idea.) Find out more, see the stats that just might convince you to do it, and take the pledge, by going to the Water Without Waste website.
Updated information just in from the Fire Department: SFD investigators have finished their work on the Puget Sound Key and Lock arson (6016 California; map), and the criminal investigation is now in the hands of Seattle Police. According to SFD, damage to the structure is estimated at $50,000, damage to the business, $40,000. The arson hotline – as posted on the window in our video above and our photos in earlier coverage – is 800/55-ARSON, with a $10,000 reward offered, but you can also call 911 with any tips. In addition, the unstoppable WSB Forum members are already organizing a bank account for donations to help business owner Michael Dein (who told WSB this morning he has no fire insurance) — as well as a possible fundraising event — check here for the latest.
This out of the inbox from Tony, who reports both sightings in Arbor Heights:
1. Chevy Cavalier on 30th ave sw with a punched out door lock and a hack saw blade and a key on the floorboard. I notified the police of a suspicious vehicle at 12 midnight last night but apparently it was of low importance as it was still there this morning (And still is there) I notified the police again this morning. They stopped by and placed a 72 hour sticker on the vehicle since it was not reported stolen yet.
2. Chevy Suburban on 34 th ave sw . Police are on the scene investigating a possible stolen SUV. I know this because it was found in front of our friends house and we found it odd we would both find stolen vehicles in front of our houses on the same day. At this location my friend saw a couple males drop off the vehicle , jump into another vehicle. He jumped in his car and followed but the car pulled over and he just drove by since it appeared they knew they were being followed.
That’s what Puget Sound Key and Lock co-owner Michael Dein just told WSB at the scene of this morning’s arson (note the big red-and-white sign on the window, clearly marking this now as an arson scene). Dein says they had no fire insurance — just the required liability insurance for his business, which is now a charred mess:
He tells WSB they’ve been in this spot at 6014 California since last August, after moving from a location on 35th north of Barton, where he says they were repeatedly hit by vandals, though overall, regarding the fire, he told us he doesn’t have any enemies who would have wanted to do something like this. While we (and lingering TV crews) were there, a woman he described as his “property manager” showed up, and they went in to look at the damage (Dein is in the cap at right):
Just moments earlier, he had told us pleasantly, “You can tell your readers, if anybody has any idea who did this, I’ll come over and make them dinner!” Then, as we walked away from the scene while he got back to tending to the aftermath of this arson, we heard shouts of raw rage from inside the business, apparently as they got an even-closer look at how much they had lost. More to come later whenever new police/fire info is available; as noted previously, there is a chance whoever did this was burned while doing it (police are quoted as saying a “bottle with some kind of accelerant” is suspected), and so might be very obvious to family, friends, or medical practitioners if they seek help. 11:10 AM UPDATE: If you miss it in the comments section – readers are organizing benefit efforts to help the arson victims. Get the latest here; donations can be made at any Wells Fargo branch, to account 5358011681.
Police are reported to be looking for suspects in an overnight fire set at Puget Sound Key and Lock at 6014 California (map). Here’s tv news coverage for starters (also here). One report says “… Witnesses reported seeing two young men leaving the scene … two white males wearing red shirts and blue jeans,” who might also have been burned, so officers are checking with hospitals and clinics. Call 911 if you have any idea who’s involved; we’ll have daylight pix here shortly. 7:55 AM ADDITION: According to an update from the Fire Department, the people in the apartment above the businesses got out OK. This is right next to the relatively new West Seattle Digital store that we reported on three months ago (you can even see part of the pre-fire locksmith store in the photo); we’re checking on nearby business effects. The major fire and police units are long gone – no traffic impediments at the scene – just a clot of tv trucks.