Police Arrest Man in Connection With Capitol Hill Fire, Seek Witnesses and Information in 11 Other Overnight Arsons

SPD arson detectives are investigating whether a 25-year-old man arrested early Wednesday on Capitol Hill—where transit security guards spotted him feeding combustibles into a burning trashcan—may be connected to 11 other fires set overnight in the East and West Precincts. Police are now seeking witnesses and any video surveillance that could aid their investigation.

The string of arsons began around 9:15 PM Tuesday, when someone set fire to a dumpster in the 1200 block of Boylston Avenue. Firefighters were later called to a series of fires set in dumpsters and recycling bins near Pioneer Square, the International District, First Hill, and Capitol Hill, as well as a vehicle fire near Yesler Terrace.

Just before 2 AM, transit security guards on Capitol Hill called 911 and reported seeing a man throwing cardboard and other items into a large, burning trash can at East Olive Way and Broadway.

The man walked off and the guards extinguished the fire and called 911. Police found the man several blocks away, confirmed his identity with the guards, and booked the 25-year-old man into the King County Jail for reckless burning.

Investigators have not conclusively linked the man to the other fires at the time, but are investigating whether he may be connected to the other arsons. Police are asking anyone with information about these incidents, or who may have surveillance cameras that captured footage around the times and locations listed below, to call the SPD Arson/Bomb Unit at 206 684 8980.

  • Fire #1 12/17/19 @ 9:17 PM: 1200 block of Boylston Ave
  • Fire #2 12/17/19 @ 9:24 PM: 1300 block of Seneca St
  • Fire #3 12/17/19 @9:29 PM: 900 block of Madison St
  • Fire #4 12/17/19 @ 9:36 PM: 800 block Spring St
  • Fire #5 12/17/19 @ 09:41 PM: 1000 block 8th Ave
  • Fire #6 12/17/19 @ 10:28 PM: 200 block 1 Ave S
  • Fire #7 12/17/19 @ 10:37 PM: 2 Ave S and S Jackson St
  • Fire #8 12/17/19 @ 10:38 PM :  S Main St and Post Alley
  • Fire #9 12/18/19 @ 12:06 AM: 10 Ave E and E Jefferson St
  • Fire #10 12/18/19 @ 12:34 AM: 100 block of 11 Ave
  • Fire #11 12/18/19 @ 12:38 AM: 100 block of 11th Ave
  • Fire #12 12/18/19 @ 01:56 AM: Broadway and E Olive Way