Lake Union arson suspect pleads not guilty to setting 50+ boats on fire

Apr 6, 2023, 12:47 PM | Updated: Apr 7, 2023, 9:52 am


(Photo courtesy of US Coast Guard)

(Photo courtesy of US Coast Guard)

Update 4/6 12:10 p.m.:

The man who was arrested for burning 58 boats at a dock on Lake Union appeared in court Thursday, pleading not guilty to the crime. Arther Arakelov is currently being held on $100,000 bail for first-degree arson charges.

The fire caused an estimated $8.5 million in damages to the boats.

This is not the first time Arakelov has faced legal trouble, with six criminal cases, two of which were active warrants at the time of his arrest.

Arakelov’s next court date is set for April 27, with a scheduled trial date set for May 25.

Update 3/22 12:21 a.m.:

A man has been arrested in connection to a fire that destroyed 30 boats Wednesday morning on Lake Union.

Seattle Fire had previously stated 42 boats had been burned but revised after further analysis from fire investigators.

Detective Judinna Gulpan said that SPD Harbor units and patrol arrived around 2:15 a.m. in the 700 block of Northeast Northlake Way and secured the area for SFD to extinguish the fire. During the investigation, an Arson Bomb Squad detective located a man hidden inside a boat moored in the water.

The 32-year-old man was detained and later transported to Harborview Medical Center for treatment. There was no one else located at the time of the incident.

The Arson Bomb Squad identified the man, who was then transported to Harborview as the suspect. He was arrested for arson and will be booked into King County Jail once medically cleared, according to police.

Original 3/22:

A fire broke out in a dry dock storage facility on Lake Union Wednesday morning, causing several dozen boats to go up in flames.

The facility at 700 block of Northeast Northlake Way on Portage Bay was reported to be engulfed in flames shortly after 2 a.m.

Abandoned tugboat sinks near Ballard; SFD and Coast Guard respond

As many as 42 boats were destroyed, according to the Seattle Fire Department. The smoke could be seen from miles away.

Eighty firefighters responded to the scene to help get the fire under control.

Firefighters say a man in his 40s, who was on a boat docked near the fire, was taken to the hospital to be treated.

The fire almost reached a nearby building, but firefighters were able to limit the spread and keep the fire contained.

At one point, the thick, toxic smoke from the boat fires was so bad the air quality turned to unhealthy for sensitive groups. It is now listed as moderate as of 9:25 a.m.

The fire is now under control.

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Lake Union arson suspect pleads not guilty to setting 50+ boats on fire