Sandi Henke, Communications Director
Arson suspected in Jehovah Witnesses Center fires in Tumwater and Olympia
Award from annual $10,000 arson award fund offered
SEATTLE – Two Jehovah Witnesses Centers damaged by fire Monday morning have investigators looking into arson as the likely cause in both blazes. NW Insurance Council and Arson Alarm Foundation also are offering an award from its annual $10,000 Arson Award Fund to anyone with information that leads to the arrest or conviction of those responsible for setting the fires.
At 8:22 a.m. the Olympia Fire Department responded to a report of smoke coming from the eaves of the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, according to The City of Olympia. Within a few minutes fire units arrived and quickly extinguished the fire, preventing it from reaching the attic. According to the investigation, the fire started outside the structure then breached an interior wall.
At 8:57 a.m., a similar fire was reported at Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Tumwater. Both Tumwater and Olympia Fire units quickly extinguished that fire as well. Because the fires appear to be related and the targets are churches, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tabaco and Firearms (ATF) was called to assist in the investigations.
Anyone with information about these fires is encouraged to call Olympia Police Department’s Detective Division at 360-753-8300, or call the Arson Alarm Hotline at 800-55-ARSON (800-552-7766) or submit a tip on the Arson Alarm Foundation’s website at www.arsonalarm.com Tipsters may remain anonymous.
NW Insurance Council and Arson Alarm Foundation offer awards up to $10,000 each year for Washington residents who provide tips to authorities that result in the arrest or conviction of arsonists. More than $100,000 has been awarded to Washington citizens over the past decade.
“Arsonists hurt all of us by destroying lives and property and by driving up insurance rates,” said Kenton Brine, NW Insurance Council president, “and we share community concerns that this could happen again unless those responsible are caught. Citizens are encouraged to call the Arson Hotline with any information they have about these fires.”
Arson is a deadly and costly crime. In 2015, nearly 23,000 deliberately-set fires killed 205 people and destroyed $534 million in insured property including factories, residential buildings, churches and motor vehicles, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education organization funded by member insurance companies in Oregon, Washington & Idaho.
Arson Alarm Foundation is a nonprofit organization that seeks to reduce loss of life and property by increasing arson awareness.