Investigators suspect arson in downtown Bellevue fires
January 21, 2010 · Updated 7:53 PM
Bellevue police are looking for a possible arsonist after two suspicious fires occurred early Thursday morning in the downtown area.
The first fire started in front of Cookies in Bloom, a business located along the alley between Orexi Greek Cuisine on Bellevue Way NE and the state liquor store on NE First St.
Police on patrol in the area reported the fire around 2:10 a.m. after smelling smoke during a routine traffic stop.
Firefighters arrived to find a teak wood flower cart in flames at the Cookies in Bloom entrance. They doused the flames and prevented them from spreading.
The fire burned a storm door at the entrance, as well as a cloth awning. It also charred the wood siding on the upper level of the building.
Cookies in Bloom owner Dave Paup said there was smoke damage to the interior of the building.
A second fire started blocks away while firefighters were dealing with the first blaze. Firefighters found a recycling bin in flames near an apartment complex at the corner of NE 10th Street and 100th Ave. NE.
The recycling bin and its contents were destroyed, but there was no other damage from that fire.
"We believe the fires were intentionally set," said Bellevue Fire Department spokesman Eric Keenan. "There was nothing surrounding those items that could have caused them to burn accidentally."
Police are investigating the incidents and reviewing downtown security cameras to look for a possible arsonist, Keenan said.
Paup opened his shop Thursday morning and resumed business as usual selling edible cookie arrangements.
"I feel very fortunate that the police caught this and the firefighters got here so fast," he said. "The officer said the fire was intense, and really got going quickly."
At this time, Bellevue Police have not announced plans for stepping up patrols in the downtown area because of the fires.
A new squad consisting of four officers, a corporal and a lieutenant began working the neighborhood in July to compensate for the increased activity that has resulted from growth in the area.
View Two Suspicious Fires in a larger map