King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office spokesman: The man detained in connection with the massive fire that damaged scores of boats in Seattle on Wednesday is scheduled to appear in court on Friday.
The man in his 30s was arrested and charged with arson. Upon official charges being filed, his identity will be made public. On Wednesday afternoon, Seattle police detained a man in connection with an early morning fire that destroyed hundreds of boats at a storage facility near the Ship Canal Bridge and Lake Union.
After reports of fire began coming in at 2 a.m. on Wednesday, more than a hundred firefighters from the Seattle Fire Department (SFD) responded to the Seattle Boat Company in the 700 block of Northeast Northlake Way.
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Walsh reported seeing dense black smoke and flames 50-70 feet in the air when firefighters arrived. According to the SFD, firefighters located a man on one of the boats moored beside the blaze.
Despite his injuries, the man was stable enough to be transported to Harborview Medical Center, where he was questioned by police. Detectives from Seattle’s Arson Bomb Unit say the man is a prime suspect in the blaze. The police have him in custody on suspicion of arson.
Around 30-50 boats were destroyed or severely damaged in the blaze. The cost might be more than $8.5 million, according to fire department estimates. On Thursday, Seattle Boat Company General Manager James Baker told KOMO News that they are still trying to determine the full scope of the damage. He said that cleanup efforts are still underway.
“The team got together this morning and our team put together a command central to focus in on using our resources and our staff and getting them in different locations and for lack of better terms, ‘getting back to business’ as well so that we can get all of these customers and families and employees as least affected as possible,” Baker said.
The suspect has been arrested multiple times for various crimes, including theft and drug possession, according to state records. Voula’s Offshore Café, owned by Sikey Vlahos, sits directly opposite the scene of the blaze.
He claimed the boating firm had taken safety measures, but the blaze had still broken out despite them. “They (Seattle Boat Company) have protected everything, but at this point, when one person can just come in and create this chaos, it’s unbelievable,” Vlahos said.
KOMO News has done considerable coverage of the region around the Ship Canal Bridge, and Vlahos expanded on his previous comments about his time there. Vlahos stated that the massive fire didn’t shock him because of the history of criminality in the area surrounding his cafe and other businesses near the river.
“With the occurrences that have happened in the last few months, I would say surprising, but not so surprising. We’ve had tent fires. We’ve had two residences burnt down, vacant homes, and then this (the boat fire),” Vlahos added.
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