The Seattle Fire Department Fire Investigation Unit has determined that a series of fires in the University District were intentionally set. At least three fires have been set in the area since Saturday night. Investigators determined that the two fires that occurred on Saturday night were connected. At this time they have not determined that the fire set Monday night is connected.
October 3 – 5520 15 Ave NE: Fire intentionally set to an abandoned couch outside of an apartment building The fire occurred at approximately 7:55 p.m. and extended to the wooden exterior siding of the building. There were no injuries. Damage was estimated at $5,000.
October 3 – 5611 University Way NE: Fire intentionally set to a mattress and other combustible materials leaning up against the wall of an apartment building at approximately 8:03 p.m. The fire did not extend to the structure and there were no injuries.
October 5 – 5200 Brooklyn Ave NE: Fire intentionally set at approximately at 8:28 p.m. to a couch discarded in an alley behind a private residence. Fire extended to a wooden staircase and fence. There were no injuries. Damage was estimated at $1,000.
Residents are encouraged to report suspicious activity to the Arson Alarm Hotline number at 1-800-55-ARSON. The Seattle Police Department is handling the criminal investigations.
On Monday afternoon, firefighters distributed Arson Watch Flyers in the neighborhood with tips on steps individuals can take to make a difference in protecting their home or business. The Seattle Fire Department urges the following steps:
- Lock doors and windows of your home, garage and car.
- Clear carport areas of anything that could fuel a fire.
- Clean up wastepaper, long grass, weeds, litter, or anything that can burn from around buildings.
- Locate dumpsters, recycling bins and yard waste containers at least five feet away from combustible walls and openings of roof eave lines.
- Do not allow waste, recycle or yard waste containers to become overfilled.
- Trim shrubbery away from doors and windows to improve visibility.
- Leave indoor and outdoor lighting on during hours of darkness. Consider installing devices that automatically turn on outdoor lights when they sense darkness or movement outside the home.
- Install smoke alarms on a ceiling or high on the wall outside of the bedrooms on each level of the home.
- Change smoke alarm batteries once a year.
- Test and clean smoke alarms regularly.
- Have a plan of escape showing two ways out of every room in your home, especially bedrooms.
- Regularly practice your escape plan by holding fire drills in your home.
- Ensure that windows used for escaping can be opened easily.
- Ensure that your house numbers are clearly visible from the street.