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Arson investigation downtown, suspect arrested

On April 27th, at approximately 12:39 AM, West Precinct officers responded to assist the Seattle Fire Department at a structure fire at a building in the 500 Block of Broad Street.  When officers arrived, they were informed by firefighters that there was an employee of the business at the scene who had let them into the building and had told firefighters exactly where the fire was inside the building.  Officers contacted the 50 year old male who admitted to setting the fire.  He claimed that he set the building on fire because he was being chased by two unknown men from his apartment several blocks away.  The suspect stated that he ran to the business where he works in an attempt to get away from the men.  He further claimed that after he entered the building and locked the door and set the alarm, the unknown men began breaking the windows of the building in an attempt to reach him.  The suspect stated that one of the men then went onto the roof of the building and cut the telephone lines, thus preventing him from calling 911.  The suspect stated that he then went to a second floor office and intentionally set a fire.  He stated that he hoped the fire would set off the smoke alarms that would alert the Fire Department who would then call the police and he could get the help he needed.  The suspect stated that plan wasn’t working fast enough, so he jumped out the second story window and ran to the 200 Block of 5th Avenue North where he called 911.  After calling police, he returned to the business.  There was no indication that the phone lines had been cut or that any windows had been broken.  Drugs may be a factor in this case.  The suspect was arrested and later booked into the King County Jail for Investigation of Arson.  Detectives continue to investigate.