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Police: Man arrested for setting 5 fires at Central District homes Monday night

The fires occurred between 7:30 and 8:41 p.m. in the city's Central District.

SEATTLE — A 27-year-old man was arrested on an arson charge after allegedly setting several fires at homes in Seattle's Central District Monday night.

The Seattle Fire Department said crews responded to five fires between 7:30 and 8:45 p.m. Monday. The department initially said four fires were set but gave an updated number Tuesday morning.

Fire investigators said each fire was intentionally set.

All five of the fires were set in the front or rear entrances of homes and “involved nearby combustible materials such as chopped firewood, patio furniture, trash bins and propane grills,” Seattle Fire said.

According to the Seattle Police Department (SPD), officers and Seattle Fire crews responded to a home on the 600 block of 37th Avenue around 7:30 p.m. after a resident saw a man trying to set his home on fire.

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After responding to the first scene, authorities started receiving reports of other fires at homes in the area and responded to four other fires. Those included one on the 3400 block of East Terrace Street, two fires at homes on the 500 block of 31st Avenue and a fifth fire on the 500 block of 30th Avenue, according to Seattle Fire.

The suspect was arrested at the scene of the fifth fire on 30th Avenue after the SPD received reports that the “suspect was running through the yards of homes, shirtless, with a blanket over his head.” Seattle police said the man was booked into the King County Jail for arson.

“We thank the residents within the impacted areas for notifying us and law enforcement of the whereabouts of the suspect,” Seattle Fire said in a blog post. “Thank you to the Seattle Police Department for apprehending the suspect in the midst of our crews extinguishing the fires. Both of your quick efforts helped prevent more fires.”

Members of the SPD’s arson and bomb squad are investigating. No injuries were reported.

Following the fires, the Seattle Fire Department shared the following tips in a blog post to help reduce the chance of arson at homes or businesses:

OUTSIDE:

Secure home, garage areas and businesses by locking doors and windows.

  • Clean up wastepaper, grasses, weeds, litter, or anything that can burn from around buildings. Clear carport areas of all combustibles.
  • Locate dumpsters, recycle bins and yard waste containers at least five feet away from walls and roof eave lines. If possible, keep them in a secured area. Do not allow them to become overfilled.
  • Place locks on commercial dumpsters or keep in secured area. Locks may be available through your contracted 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:

  • 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 the exits and a meeting place.
  • If you have a fire extinguisher, know where it is located and how to use it.
  • Keep exit ways clear of items which could slow evacuation efforts.

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