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Police arrest arson suspect for setting fire inside apartment building lobby in Seattle's Belltown

Seattle saw more than 30 arson incidents in January and February alone as crime continues to surge in the city.

SEATTLE — The Seattle Police Department (SPD) arrested a 38-year-old Federal Way man who officers say started several fires in a Belltown apartment building on March 10.

Officers said the suspect is a former tenant of the apartment complex.

The Seattle Fire Department responded to the fire, located at the Bell Tower in the 2200 block of Frist Avenue, around 2:45 a.m.

An official said the fire had started in the lobby of the 17-story low-income housing complex.

Crews were able to put the fire out in less than an hour, and investigators were able to determine that the fire was intentionally set.

Multiple floors of the building were evacuated due to unsafe conditions. Those residents were able to take shelter inside a King County Metro bus before being allowed back into their homes.

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A 50-year-old man was found in the lobby’s bathroom and had to be rescued. SPD said he remains in critical condition as of Monday.

A 68-year-old man and a 52-year-old woman were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

SPD’s Arson and Bomb Squad Unit, Homicide and Assault Unit and investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms helped in the investigation.

Along with most crime, Seattle has seen an increase in the number of arsons over the last couple of years.

From 110 arsons in 2019, the number more than doubled in two years to 224 arsons in 2021. For the first two months of 2022, the city has already seen 35 arsons, according to SPD’s crime dashboard.

Meanwhile, officers have arrested 11 individuals for arson so far this year.

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