UPDATE: Arson at High Point management office; police say no connection so far to Sylvan Heights car arsons


6:12 AM: Another arson in the High Point area this morning – second morning in a row. As you can see in our photo, “arson” is the declaration on the sign that’s up at the Seattle Housing Authority-operated office on the northeast corner of 35th and Holly [map] after someone set a fire outside its basement entrance on the Holly side just after 3 am. No one was hurt. Seattle Police and Fire investigators are looking into this; it happened less than 24 hours after two cars were set ablaze in the Sylvan Ridge area on the southeast edge of High Point, about half a mile away, though there’s no word on whether this is related – we’ll be following up on that later this morning, and also re-inquiring about the 35th/Austin (ex-Red Star Pizza) fire early Thursday. Back to this morning’s fire – staffers are already at the office cleaning up after water damage and boarding a window; they say it will be open for business today.

11:16 AM: The building is also where the High Point Masjid As Sunnah mosque meets. We stopped again at the scene to check on the cleanup, and staff told us the SHA office side is what was damaged, not the mosque’s area.

SPD tells us they’ll have information to release later this hour, so we’ll have another update coming up.

11:39 AM: Here’s what SPD has just released via its “blotter,” saying they’re not seeing a connection so far between what happened this morning and what happened early Sunday:

Seattle police responded with Seattle fire to three intentionally set fires over the weekend in the High Point Neighborhood in West Seattle.

Police and firefighters responded to the 2700 block of SW Sylvan Heights on Sunday around 4:45 AM after receiving a report of two cars on fire.

Both vehicles were parked on the street and suffered significant damage before the flames were extinguished.

In a separate incident about 24 hours later, officers and firefighters responded to a fire in an entryway of a commercial building in the 6500 block of 35 Ave SW around 3:30 AM Monday. The fire caused exterior damage to the lower level of the building as well interior damage as the flames passed through a broken window.

SPD arson detectives are investigating the two incidents, but say they have not found anything connecting the cases. Police do not currently believe Monday’s fire on 35th Ave SW was set with the intent of targeting any of the tenants of three offices on the property.

Detectives are working with the Seattle Fire Department and our federal partners at ATF on these cases. If you have any information about these incidents, please call 911.

11:52 AM: We just called to doublecheck with SPD to be sure that by “three intentionally set fires” they meant the two cars plus this morning’s fire, not something additional, and Officer Lauren Lovanhill says yes, that’s what it means. She also confirms that the ex-Red Star Pizza fire from last week is NOT considered arson nor related in any way. (Later, SFD told us SPD is investigating that fire, though, because of its proximity.)

3:01 PM: If you haven’t seen our later story yet – fire broke out at this building again an hour ago, bringing a huge callout. We are covering this separately – go here.

24 Replies to "UPDATE: Arson at High Point management office; police say no connection so far to Sylvan Heights car arsons"

  • alki resident October 19, 2015 (6:51 am)

    I wouldnt doubt if this guy is a resident of High Point. This is bizarre behavior and a very dangerous person lurking at night. Im sure people are on edge until he is arrested. It saddens me that this is happening.

  • AMD October 19, 2015 (7:45 am)

    And four days after the Red Star Pizza fire at 35th/Webster. SFD has been busy in the neighborhood this week.

    • WSB October 19, 2015 (7:56 am)

      That’s mentioned and linked in the story, as the one we’ll be re-inquiring about. At the scene that morning, it was described as having been started in a “campfire” manner, but that was before the arsons this morning and Sunday. Will add whatever more we find out as the day goes on – TR

  • Jay @ Hill Crest October 19, 2015 (8:58 am)

    Part of me wonders if the “campfire” nature of these fires is simply a homeless person trying to stay warm and dry now that the weather has turned.

    No matter what the cause, it scares me. I’m hoping more SPD patrols will be going around in the early mornings (1-4) looking at the overhang areas like this and the canopy at Red Star.

  • Alan October 19, 2015 (9:21 am)

    @Jay – If you look at the street view of where this fire was, you will see that it was where the trash and recycle were placed. Twenty feet away or so is a much more sheltered overhang, which is the more likely place to seek shelter, were it just someone trying to keep warm.

    This looks like it was probably a fire of opportunity where the person used paper from the recycle bin. I wonder if there might not have been some debris left in front of Red Star. Both would be substantially different from the car fires, where a device was clearly brought to start the fires. That is assuming no device was found at this fire.

  • Michele October 19, 2015 (9:51 am)

    It sad that someone immediately says the person “probably lives in High Point” This are the type of person that starts rumors and gossip without concrete knowledge. Wait til proof is documented before you speak.

  • alki resident October 19, 2015 (11:34 am)

    Michele- What I said wasnt “sad’ at all. Statistics show people who commit arson,rape etc. tend to live real close to the crime. The suspect can get back home quickly without being noticed. In cases like arson,sometimes the suspect will be in the crowd watching his own work as firefighters are putting it out.Ive also learned this from friends who are police officers and fire chiefs.

  • trickycoolj October 19, 2015 (11:39 am)

    Scary that yesterday’s car fires were seemingly unimportant to the authorities and now we have another burned structure. This is not ok.

  • Michele October 19, 2015 (12:03 pm)

    U misunderstood, I said its sad. You said ” you don’t doubt” t.To me it’s sad that someone jumps to that conclusion. Even if statistics say that, it is still wrong to make assumptions. Wait til you caan talk concrete evidence.Do you live close-by?

  • Heidi A October 19, 2015 (12:39 pm)

    It sounds like they are being pretty dismissive to say they’re not connected. They should be putting info out about being proactive with block watches and removing debris from around buildings until they catch whoever is responsible. I lived in another city with an arsonist and there were a lot more proactive statements and explanations of what the police/fire departments are doing,

  • Jay @ Hill Crest October 19, 2015 (2:06 pm)

    SFD just rolled out a large response to the High Point management office again. Wonder if it’s a smoldering cinder like Red Star, or something else?

  • Joan October 19, 2015 (2:07 pm)

    I’m surprised the extent of the fire was not worse than reported. The response seemed huge, based on the number of sirens I heard for about a half hour.

  • JanS October 19, 2015 (2:12 pm)

    and now, at 2:10pm, another call out to the same location…hope it’s just a flare up, and out quickly.. Sad…and none of it should be dismissed…

  • J.P. October 19, 2015 (2:28 pm)

    I would find it coincidental if these properties that are beyond repair are replaced by these new style crap boxes popping up all over West Seattle.

  • W.B October 19, 2015 (2:44 pm)

    Well I live on 34th right next to high point mgmt, the roof is on fire “currently being put out” Also I don’t think it’s terrible to assume that whomever is responsible is a resident of high point. That seems very logical to me.

  • KJ October 19, 2015 (9:26 pm)

    Probably a couple of years ago now, there was a simple stove top fire at the SHA housing building on 34th and Morgan. ELEVEN fire vehicles plus 2 Medic Ones showed up. They were parked the length of the block plus a half on 34th. They were parked on the buildings grounds. They were parked up and down and on both sides of Morgan. They were parked in the alleyway behind the building and there was one parked in the Walmart parking lot. All of that for a stove top fire (that did need water to put out). What I found out later was a year before there was a fire in the same building and SFD had a difficult time getting some of the elderly and disabled out of the building. I guess the over response of the SFD was because they didn’t want to repeat that, but still…

    • WSB October 19, 2015 (10:11 pm)

      KJ, *whenever* there is a fire in an apartment, house, or commercial/institutional building, there is a response of that size. We’ve discussed it here many times. It’s why we report even false alarms (had two over the weekend), because such a big response is initially sent. It’s not situational; it’s SFD SOP.

  • Cynthia Clouser October 19, 2015 (11:38 pm)

    No one knows who commited this crime. To assume they ..no doubt..were from Highpoint..because it is bizarre behavior..is stereotyping. The majority of residents here, are not inclined to behave this way. And, who knows if it is a *guy* Assumptions can create serious misunderstandings.

  • miws October 20, 2015 (7:46 am)

    We’ve discussed it here many times.


    And in addition to that, maybe it’s time to post this again, as a reminder of one reason why an “over-response”, is valid:




  • KJ October 21, 2015 (12:17 am)

    Folks, this is the first time I’ve been on this blog site so please don’t chastise me for not knowing what’s been printed here before.
    I understand your point, however there were trucks still showing up forty-five to fifty minutes after the first truck arrived. By that time, first responders knew what was happening. It seems common sense to me that a few of those trucks didn’t need to travel the distance to be there. Also, there were at least 30 firefighters standing around outside waiting for orders that never came, except to go home. I love the SFD folks, I just believe some funds were wasted by having such an over response to the actual situation… a stove top fire in one apartment.

  • KJ October 21, 2015 (8:30 pm)

    I understand and respect the info you’ve provided about the SFD’s SOP. I still think, however, that after assessing THIS situation and knowing what the needs were to address all the safety measures, someone could have called off the trucks that were arriving 40 minutes after the initial report. There were at least 30 firefighters just standing around so obviously the safety issues were being addressed by the earlier crews (who, I understand, did an awesome job as usual).I respect the SOPs that the SFD works from but I also think common sense could have come into play once the situation was assessed. So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  • Seolajo October 22, 2015 (1:15 pm)

    WSB, do you know if SFD have a specific reason or knowledge as to why they are NOT including the Red Star fire with thsee last ones?

    • WSB October 22, 2015 (1:22 pm)

      Hi – that was explained in SPD’s update yesterday (also added onto the same SPD Blotter post they continue to expand with new info including today’s person of interest): “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.” – which is similar to what we were told at the scene that morning, and told again by police when we asked the other day to clarify – TR

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