After a string of 21 dumpster fires in the Ballard area — including one on Phinney Ridge and another in Magnolia — the arsons have mysteriously stopped. The last fires were set on the weekend of January 6th, and Seattle Fire tells us there are no new cases since then. Investigators are mum on any details.
Then on Sunday night in Magnolia, a blaze in a vacant auditorium on Fort Lawton attracted a huge fire response, including many firefighters from Ballard. Seattle Fire has concluded that it was intentionally set.
“This was the first arson fire in Magnolia that we have had in a while” other than the dumpster fire earlier this month, Seattle Fire spokeswoman Kristin Tinsley told My Ballard. She’s referring to a string of unsolved fires in Magnolia last year — 13 in all. The fire on Sunday night makes 14.
“They have mostly been to outside shrubbery/hedges, recycle bins, etc.,” Tinsley explained in an email. Two of the fires spread to nearby structures.
Here’s a map of the Magnolia fires:
Similar to Ballard, Seattle Fire urged Magnolia residents to pull dumpsters away from buildings, install exterior lighting and employ other safety measures.
That makes a string of 14 fires in Magnolia and another 21 in Ballard, 35 unsolved fires in all — with lots of similarities. Are they the act of a single arsonist? That’s unclear, and Seattle Fire refers all investigative questions to Seattle Police’s Arson and Bomb Squad, which has yet to report on any new developments. We’ll keep you updated…