Tacoma police arrest ‘known serial arsonist’ after reports of dumpster fires downtown

TACOMA, Wash. — Tacoma police on Sunday arrested a 34-year-old man suspected to have set three dumpster fires downtown. Police said one fire was directly against an apartment building and the others were near a construction site.

The man was booked into Pierce County Jail on Sunday for investigation of first-degree arson and second-degree arson.

Officers from Tacoma Police Department responded about 6:32 p.m. to the 200 block of South G Street for reports of a dumpster fully engulfed in flames against an apartment building, according to a news release from the department. Police said officers talked to witnesses, who provided a description of a man they saw lighting the fire.

Shortly thereafter, South Sound 911 dispatchers received reports of two more dumpster fires near the 400 block of St. Helens Avenue.

Officers responded and tried unsuccessfully to put out the fires with a fire extinguisher. According to the release, Tacoma Fire Department responded and put out the flames. Witnesses again provided a description of a person seen at the fire, and police said it matched the description of the man seen lighting the fire on South G Street.

Officers located the arson suspect at about 6:49 p.m. Police said he was detained without incident.

Police described the man as a “known serial arsonist who has multiple prior arrests for arson in downtown Tacoma.” According to court records, the man has a prior conviction from 2021 in Pierce County Superior Court for second-degree reckless burning after he was accused of setting a dumpster on fire downtown and lighting a fire under a railroad trestle.

The suspect was also convicted in January of second-degree malicious mischief for breaking car windows near downtown.

This story was originally published by The News Tribune.