Suspect arrested for arson after Seattle marina fire destroys dozens of boats

Dozens of boats were destroyed, and a man was arrested on suspicion of arson after a fire near Seattle's Ship Canal Bridge early Wednesday morning.

Crews responded to a report of a boat storage facility fire at about 2 a.m. along Northeast Northlake Way. 

Image 1 of 5

  (Seattle Fire Department)

When firefighters arrived, a storage facility with several boats was burning and the warehouse next to it caught on fire. 

Officials previously stated 42 boats were destroyed, but units at the scene confirmed about 30 boats had burned. 

Crews quickly extinguished the fire and found no one inside the warehouse. The fire was under control by 3:30 a.m.

Fire officials said during an investigation, an Arson Bomb Squad detective located a man hidden in a boat docked near the fire. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center to be treated. There were no additional injuries.

According to police, they identified that man as a suspect in the fire and he was arrested on suspicion of arson. He'll be booked into the King County Jail once he is medically cleared. 

The U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Ecology also responded to the scene to help with deploying buoys to prevent hazardous chemicals in the boats on fire from spreading into Portage Bay and Lake Union. 

Officials with the Coast Guard tell FOX 13 News they are looking for "sheen," or the shimmer on the water that oil and diesel creates. They tell us they have not seen any, but will continue to monitor.

Another concern for many was the foam used by Seattle Fire to put the flames outs. The foam could be seen floating throughout the water. The Coast Guard and Seattle Fire say the foam they use is environmentally safe.

Fire officials said a total of 14 fire engines, 5 ladder trucks, Fireboat Chief Seattle and additional support units were dispatched, and more than 100 personnel responded to the scene. 

FOX 13 News spoke to employees of the marina, where the fire happened.

"Just really saddened by the news of the fire and very thankful for the responders, fire department. They put together a huge effort and got the fire put out," said James Baker, general manager of the Seattle Boat Company.

Boat owners made their way down to the marina to check out the damage throughout the day.

"I saw online there was a giant fire here. I realized pretty quickly it was the boat company where my boat was," said Sherman Griffin.

Griffin took his daughter down the marina. He says despite the emotional and monetary lost they are staying positive.

"We had some great memories on the boat. But at the end of the day, it's just a boat," said Griffin.