A 27-year-old man suspected of intentionally starting five fires in the Central District on Monday has been arrested, according to the Seattle fire and police departments.
The fires were set between 7:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. Monday, the fire department said, each involving nearby combustible materials. No injuries were reported.
Police and firefighters first responded to a home in the 600 block of 37th Avenue where a fire was started at the front of the house and the rear stairwell using chopped firewood, patio furniture and a propane grill, the fire department said.
After responding, authorities received several more reports of fires in the area, according to police.
A small fire was set outside a home in the 3400 block of East Terrace Street, the fire department said, adding it was extinguished by the resident.
The third and fourth fires were set outside homes in the 500 block of 31st Avenue, according to the fire department. One involved combustible materials at the rear of a home, and the other involved patio furniture near the front entrance of another home.
The fifth was set in the 500 block of 30th Avenue, where patio cushions stacked near the rear of a home were set ablaze, the fire department said.
Fire investigators determined the fires were intentionally set, according to fire department spokesperson David Cuerpo, and Seattle Police are conducting the arson investigation.
Following these fires, Seattle Fire shared these tips to reduce the chance of arson:
Outside homes and businesses:
- Clean wastepaper, grass, weeds, litter and anything else that can burn from around buildings.
- Clear carport areas of all combustibles.
- Keep dumpsters, recycling bins and yard waste containers at least 5 feet away from walls and roof eave lines. Keep them in a secured area, if possible, and avoid letting them become overfilled.
- Place locks on commercial dumpsters or keep them in secured area. Locks may be available through your service provider. Use only metal or metal-lined receptacles. (Residential customers can call Seattle Public Utilities at 206-684-7665 to arrange for delivery and installation of locks for recycling and garbage containers.)
- Trim shrubbery from doors and windows to improve visibility.
- Install motion-sensor exterior lights or consider leaving lights on.
- Secure gas grills or disconnect the propane tank and place it inside your garage.
Inside homes and businesses:
- For businesses, check fire and life-safety systems, including fire extinguishers, to ensure they are working and in compliance with codes.
- For homeowners, test smoke alarms to ensure they are working.
- Develop and practice a fire escape plan. Be sure it includes knowing all exits and a meeting place.
- If you have a fire extinguisher, know where it is and how to use it.
- Keep exits clear of items that could slow evacuation efforts.