WEST SEATTLE ARSONS: Another fire scrutinized; $10,000 reward; SPD update at MoCA meeting

4 PM: Here’s what’s new in the arson investigation:

Investigators were back in Morgan Junction at midday today, hours after the 2:36 am recycling-bin arson, which has been added to the list of set fires that, as first reported here last night, now dates back nine days. But those investigators weren’t just taking another look at the 40th/Morgan fire that destroyed a bin and charred a fence. We saw them also examining this:

At mid-morning today, two nearby residents called our attention to that spot of burned vegetation on the same side of Morgan as the early-morning bin fire, about a block east/uphill. The SFD call log does not show a callout for it, but neither resident could recall seeing the damage before this morning. So far, Seattle Police haven’t officially added it to the list. But for the overall series of arsons, they are now widely publicizing the $10,000 reward listed on the signs we’ve been showing you – it’s now available for information that solves this fire-setting spree. Here are the locations shown on the map included in their updated SPD Blotter post:

As Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis confirmed to WSB at last night’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, the first fire was set in a trash can on the lawn of a vacant home in the 6500 block of 34th SW. The Seattle Fire log shows that response at 2:40 am Monday, October 12th. Today’s SPD Blotter update says another arson happened at the same time at a nearby bus stop on SW Morgan, where a burning box was found.

Then came the fires set beneath two cars parked next to each other in the 2700 block of SW Sylvan Heights Drive last Sunday morning.

One car’s owner told WSB that the fires were set in some kind of box placed under the cars. That fire callout was at 4:50 am.

On Monday morning at 3:16 am, SFD was called to a waste-bin fire outside the southeast side of the High Point rental-office building at 35th and Holly, a building whose other tenants include a mosque. Though the fire was put out before too much damage was done, you’ll recall it flared up 11 hours later, at 2 pm, bringing a huge response.

The flareup led to serious damage, especially to the building’s mansard-style roof.

Then came this morning’s fire in the recycling bin in the Morgan-facing driveway of a house in the 6500 block of 40th SW. Police responded quickly, as did SFD, but searching the area was a challenge because of thick fog. We just asked SPD again if there’s any hint of a description of a suspect, person of interest, vehicle, anything – so far, Officer Lauren Lovanhill told us, the answer to that is “no.” If you have any information that might help the investigation, don’t hesitate to call 911 or 800-55-ARSON. And in the meantime, consider taking steps to keep the arsonist(s) from finding an easy target – here again is the flyer that’s been distributed around the area, and was shared at last night’s WSCPC meeting:

You can also see it on SPD Blotter. SPD, by the way, says federal ATF investigators are working with them, and that they are checking other jurisdictions to see if anything else might be linked. So far, none of the fires have led to injuries.

ADDED 8:39 PM: Capt. Davis spoke to the Morgan Community Association‘s quarterly meeting tonight, talking about the arsons. No major new information but we recorded it on video so you could hear for yourself:

Seattle firefighters from Engine 37 also were there, and presented the type of information you see above, about keeping your home and its periphery clear of anything that might be a “target” for an arsonist.

–Tracy Record, WSB editor

15 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE ARSONS: Another fire scrutinized; $10,000 reward; SPD update at MoCA meeting"

  • Lauren October 21, 2015 (4:07 pm)

    Does anyone know if the series of suspected arson dumpster fires that occurred all in one night from a year ago was ever solved?


    • WSB October 21, 2015 (4:35 pm)

      Lauren, I’d forgotten about that one, don’t think anyone was arrested but can’t say for sure as police don’t often announce “solved this case from xx,” and there’s no way to easily check the files. 6500 block 34th, mentioned therein, would have been a few doors down from the front-yard waste-bin fire that police say started all this …

  • sam-c October 21, 2015 (4:23 pm)

    Their flyer mentions locks for recycling containers, but they are just talking about apartment bldg / commercial size metal ones, right?

  • Smokeycretin9 October 21, 2015 (4:29 pm)

    For the life of me, I still don’t know why the Red Star Pizza fires are not lumped in with these.

    • WSB October 21, 2015 (4:36 pm)

      Smokey, that was addressed yet again in today’s SPD Blotter update (linked in our story above), exact quote: “Investigators have also reviewed a report of a fire in the 7500 block of 35th Ave SW on October 12th, which they currently believe was accidental, set by someone trying to keep warm in a vacant building.”

  • Guy Olson October 21, 2015 (4:37 pm)

    Look for some sketchy person walking around the neighborhood after 2:00 am. Wait, $10k? I’m going to go look for the jerk myself!

  • trickycoolj October 21, 2015 (4:55 pm)

    I’m suddenly remembering that a fire extinguisher was on that running shopping list for the house. Debating on trying to get up at 4am to put out my garbage tomorrow instead of putting it out at night like usual.

  • WScommuter October 21, 2015 (5:08 pm)

    @smokeycretin … serial arsons typically have certain “signature” elements to them (source of accelerant, etc.) … my guess is that the Red Star fire stood as an outlier to the investigators.

  • Christy October 21, 2015 (7:49 pm)

    FYI the house in the 6500 block of 34th is not vacant.

    • WSB October 21, 2015 (8:03 pm)

      It was described that way by police and I should have qualified it as such because short of knocking on the door, there was no way to confirm.

  • WestSeattleEast October 21, 2015 (8:37 pm)

    Makes me wonder whether the mailbox fire at the Westwood post office at the end of August may also be connected.

  • wb October 21, 2015 (10:30 pm)

    Back when i lived in greenwood, it took a long time and $2 million in damages before they caught the guy. http://mynorthwest.com/11/326192/Long-sentence-for-Greenwood-arsonist

  • Franci October 22, 2015 (8:49 am)

    sam-c – Yes I am sure they must be referring to commercial containers. A while back I was having issues with someone placing yard waste in my recycle container and when I called the city to discuss this issue – I was told that if I installed a lock on my container – that I could be fined for destruction of city property.

  • Vanessa Carr October 23, 2015 (11:34 am)

    This evil person has been setting things on fire in this general area for years. Same thing with setting the bins on fire. There is much more details to share but he is probably reading the blog.
    Your time is short.

  • Nurse In Seattle October 23, 2015 (11:48 am)

    The arsonist seem to have commented in your blog. They show no remorse or compassion, but try to distract serious thought. It is a psychological condition – personality disorder. The criminal often returns to the crime scene.
    It is time we had color surveillance cameras with sound and clearer pictures. Camera technology is better in Europe, why not in USA?

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