Magnolia elementary school closed after fire damages school

Feb 13, 2023, 1:15 PM | Updated: 2:14 pm
elementary arson...
Classes at a Magnolia elementary school were canceled Monday after a fire broke out, and it appears that it was started intentionally. (Photo courtesy of the Seattle Police Department)
(Photo courtesy of the Seattle Police Department)

UPDATE 1:16 pm:

Police received a report about a man matching the suspect description just before 1 a.m. today. Officers searched the area and found the man walking westbound on West Dravus Street.

The 55-year-old male suspect was arrested for reckless burning and booked into King County Jail.

Original story:

Classes at Magnolia elementary school were canceled Monday after a fire broke out, and it appears that it was started intentionally.

Investigators say just before 7:30 p.m. Sunday, a witness reported seeing a man setting the fire near the entrance of Catharine Blaine K-8 and walking away.

More than 30 displaced after Auburn apartment complex fire

The suspect is described as a white man in his 30s with sandy brown shoulder-length hair and a shaggy brown beard. The suspect was last seen wearing a gray beanie, a girl’s purple coat with white stripes, and a girl’s black yoga pants.

The fire caused substantial damage to the school property, starting from the exterior and spreading into the interior before it was extinguished.

“Fire damage was limited to a storage area just inside the entrance, and there was no direct damage to any classrooms,” Patrick Gray, the Principal of Catharine Blaine K-8, said in a statement. “The majority of the impact is smoke related and is significant enough that district leaders and I have made the decision to cancel classes tomorrow in order to allow sufficient time for additional clean up and to ensure the building is safe and ready for students to return.”

Parents and students at the school told KIRO Newsradio they want answers as to what — or who — set the fire.“I was mainly wondering what the fire was about,” said Thijs Buning, a 7th grader at the school.His mother, Nichole Buning, said she’s unsettled that someone may have set the fire on purpose.Despite the witness’ reported statement, Seattle police told KIRO Newsradio the department is not officially declaring the fire to be arson as it’s not currently clear whether it was intentionally lit.On Monday afternoon, a spokesperson with Seattle Fire Department told KIRO Newsradio the cause is undetermined. A spokesperson with SPD said the investigation is ongoing.Photos from SPD’s crime blog show the damage done to the outside of the building, where authorities said it began, and burnt walls inside.Officials said the damage is estimated at $11,000.

Firefighters say most of the damage is from smoke. The cost of repair is unknown at this time.

School officials will be spending today cleaning up and ensuring the building is safe.

Local News

(Photo from KIRO 7)...
Lauren Donovan, KIRO 7 News

‘They don’t care about our safety:’ Kentucky Amazon workers fly to Seattle to protest

Kentucky Amazon workers determined to unionize flew into Seattle for a protest outside The Spheres in South Lake Union.
15 hours ago
Lakewood Police...
Lisa Brooks

Suspect arrested after infant grazed by bullet in Lakewood

An infant was grazed by a bullet and hit by broken glass after a shooting Friday night in Lakewood. There is no information on a suspect.
15 hours ago
Dan Rocha...
Gwen Baumgardner, KIRO 7 News

Community honors fallen Everett police officer Dan Rocha one year after line-of-duty death

Online tributes continue to pour in on the one-year anniversary after the death of Everett police officer Dan Rocha.
2 days ago
Tacoma homicide...
KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

Homicide detectives investigating after man found dead in Tacoma

Homicide detectives are investigating after a man's body was found dead Saturday morning along South Tacoma Way.
2 days ago
March Madness...
Nate Connors

Weekend Traffic Report: NCAA March Madness comes to town

NCAA Women's Basketball is heading to Climate Pledge Arena Friday through Monday. Friday's game starts at 4:30 p.m.
3 days ago
Bill Kaczaraba

Starbucks CEO Narasimhan plans to ‘reinvent’ the company

Starbucks new CEO Laxman Narasimhan held his first shareholder meeting Thursday and offered proposals to reinvent the company.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Magnolia elementary school closed after fire damages school