2 more arsons in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood

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by OWEN LEI / KING 5 News and Associated Press

NWCN.com

Posted on November 5, 2009 at 7:10 AM

Updated Thursday, Nov 5 at 6:41 PM

SEATTLE - Fire investigators say they believe the same person is behind two fires set half an hour apart in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood.

Fire department spokeswoman Dana Vander Houwen said the Thursday morning fires are considered arson, though investigators are still looking at whether they also are linked to the Oct. 23 fire in the same neighborhood that destroyed four businesses and damaged others.

The latest fires burned the exterior of an accounting office on NW 85th Street and the Rosewood Guitar shop on 84th and Greenwood Avenue, causing a total of about $25,000 in damage.

Bill Clements, who owns Rosewood Guitar, said his alarm company was the first to alert him to the fire.

"I got a call from our alarm company about 4:30 in the morning saying there were multiple alarm zones set off," said Clements. "So, I headed down here right away and was at about 105th and saw flashing lights everywhere and my worst suspicions were confirmed that arson hit our store."

Clements says quick work by firefighters prevented flames from burning inside the building and damaging instruments. Still, the smoke and water damage forced him to shut down his shop and move his inventory, he said. Contractors are using industrial fans to dry out the building, and that could cause his guitars, some of which are more than 100 years old, to crack.

"It's malicious," Clements said of a potential serial arsonist in his neighborhood. "We're not talking about big corporations here, we're talking about small family-owned businesses, and things like this set us back a lot."

Neighbors, scared they might be the next victim of arson, say enough is enough.

"I come outside and here's another building just like the one a couple weeks ago. I hope I'm not next," said Geoff White, who lives above a nearby shop.

"I have my staff keeping an eye open for stuff, but it's very concerning," said Steve Shepard, new owner of the nearby Pig-And-Whistle.

The Oct. 23 fire destroyed three restaurants and a coffee shop, damaged the Taproot Theater and caused $2 million damage.

Authorities are offering up to $10,000 to anyone with info that leads to an arrest in the case.

No injuries were reported in Thursday's fires.

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