SEATTLE - Seattle police are stepping up their patrols in the Greenwood neighborhood after a string of arsons damaged or destroyed businesses. Now business owners are taking safety into their own hands, trying to protect their property from a serial arsonist.
Police, residents and some business owners spent the Monday night patrolling the neighborhood.
Concern over the arsons is growing and city officials plan to hold a community meeting Tuesday night. Interest is so great, the venue for the community meeting has moved from Upper Crust Catering to the Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church at 7500 Greenwood Avenue N. The meeting will start at 7:00 p.m. in church's Fellowship Hall.
The meeting is sponsored by the Seattle Fire Department and the Seattle Police Department to talk about the recent arsons in the neighborhood and what residents can do to help prevent arson.
The arsonist is growing bolder. There have now been a total of ten fires to date. The arsons began in June, mostly clustered around Greenwood Avenue N. and N. 85th street.
Several more fires were sparked Monday, even during daylight hours. The first fire was behind Moonphoto at Greenwood and 77th late Sunday night. The latest fire was Monday morning at the Greenwood Quick Stop.
Seattle police won’t speculate on a motive or a profile of a potential suspect. Arson investigators have handed out fliers to local business owners, asking businesses to clear anything flammable away from their buildings. They're also asking people to watch out for anything suspicious.
But with so many fires, some business owners don't feel comfortable leaving at all. Business owner Tim Nolan isn’t waiting for police. He’s investigating cameras for the back alley of his cabinet shop, and more.
"We’re considering taking turns staying overnight in our own business, just to protect ourselves,” he said.
Even though Favzi Korton’s business already has cameras, he’s also considering sleeping in his business. He’s worried the arsonist has become too bold.
“That guy doesn’t even seem like he’s worried about getting caught," he said.
A reward for information leading to the arrest of the arsonist is now up to $25,000. If you have any information, call 1-800-55- ARSON.