Seattle Police arrested a man after a huge fire that destroyed dozens of boats at a boat storage facility under Ship Canal Bridge early Wednesday morning (March 22).
The Seattle Fire Department (SFD) started getting reports of the blaze around 2 a.m., sending over 100 firefighters to the Seattle Boat Company in the 700 block of Northeast Northlake Way, according to SFD Deputy Chief Tom Walsh, per KOMO. Officials said flames reached 50 to 70 feet in the air as they battled the fire, and 30 boats stacked in dry storage were involved.
Later that afternoon, an Arson Bomb Squad detective found a 32-year-old man hidden inside a docked boat near the fire, police said. He was detained and taken to Harborview Medical Center in stable condition, where he was questioned about the incident, according to officers.
The Arson Bomb Squad identified the man as a suspect and arrested him for arson. Once he's medically cleared, he will be booked into King County Jail.
Walsh said another building was involved in the massive fire, but it was able to be saved. The flames were extinguished by 4:30 a.m. but firefighters stuck around to monitor hot spots.
The SFD Deputy Chief described the fire as a challenging endeavor.
“A lot of challenges with this,” Walsh said. “Every boat has a gas tank, every boat has oil in it, every boat has fiberglass, and you can see that they’re stacked like wood. So, it’s just ripe to get a big fire out of it."
James Baker, Seattle Boat Company's general manager, told KOMO, "We are very saddened to see this loss for all these families. Very thankful for our responders."
SFD said the Department of Ecology and the U.S. Coast Guard also responded to the scene.
No other injuries were reported in the fire. The investigation is ongoing.