Arson suspect arrested after dozens of boats burn in marina fire on Seattle’s Portage Bay

SEATTLE — Flames engulfed a marina in Seattle’s University District, burning dozens of boats early Wednesday.

The two-alarm fire in the 700 block of Northeast Northlake Way on Portage Bay was reported shortly after 2 a.m.

According to the Seattle Fire Department, as many as 30 boats at a dry rack storage facility were burning when firefighters arrived and the fire had spread to an adjacent warehouse.

Firefighters confirmed no one was inside the warehouse.

Smoke from the fire could be seen from miles away and caused parts of the Seattle area to have air quality in the moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups range.

At one point there were 100 firefighters at the scene as well as a fireboat.

“The U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Ecology also responded to the scene to provide assistance in deploying buoys to prevent hazardous chemicals in the boats on fire from spreading into Portage Bay and Lake Union,” Seattle Fire said in a post on its Fire Line Blog.

The fire was under control by 3:30 a.m.

A 32-year-old man who was found in a boat docked near the fire was detained by Seattle Police officers. Video from the scene showed he was placed in handcuffs. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center.

The man was later identified by the Arson Bomb Squad as a suspect. He was arrested and will be booked into the King County Jail once he is medically cleared.

Seattle police are conducting a follow-up investigation.

No injuries were reported.

Editor’s note: Initially, as many as 42 boats were believed to have been destroyed, but further analysis from Seattle Fire Department investigators revised the number to 30.