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Seattle police and fire investigators looking into string of intentionally set fires

Several of the fires were set in dumpsters, garbage cans and stairwells between July 16 and 17.

SEATTLE — Seattle police and fire investigators are looking into a string of intentionally set fires, most of which were set between July 16 and 17, just blocks apart. 

The fires set across three neighborhoods: the Chinatown-International District, First Hill and Capitol Hill. 

The cluster that occurred on July 16 and 17 were all started in dumpsters, garbage bins and stairwells. 

One of the largest fires was set on July 12 in First Hill next to Virginia Mason Hospital. As flames took over the vacant building, the smoke could be seen from I-5.

Just a week later, on July 20, a two-alarm fire destroyed a building in Seattle's Chinatown-International District due to smoke. The fire broke out in a vacant produce warehouse on 10th and South King Street. Crews also shut off the electricity, which cut power to thousands. 

There were seven arson cases in the Chinatown International District in July, compared to four in the first six months of 2023. 

Investigators are more concerned with the fact that the fires were intentionally set than the scale or size of the fires. They are asking business owners to keep lights on, lock down garbage bins and report any information that seems relevant to the police. 

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