Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah's Witnesses Fire Investigation

City of Olympia
Date of Release: July 03, 2018

Lt Sam Costello

Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah's Witnesses Fire Investigation

Olympia Police, ATF Investigating Suspicious Fire at Jehovah’s Witnesses Hall on Cain Road

This morning at 3:09 a.m. the Olympia Fire Department was dispatched to a report of a structure fire at the Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah’s Witnesses located at 2225 Cain Road SE. Olympia Police were also dispatched to the scene about the same time, arriving a short time later. Upon arrival, police and fire personnel found that the structure was fully involved. The Olympia Fire Department extinguished the fire and remained on the scene for most of the day. The building has been deemed a total loss. Traffic was impacted during the morning commute on 22nd Avenue as well as on Cain Road adjacent to the fire scene. While 22nd Avenue was eventually opened for traffic, Cain Road has remained closed for the day, impacting local neighborhoods and motorists.

As police officers responded to the scene, they observed a male in the area of the fire who had his face covered with a balaclava. Officers contacted the male, a 28 year-old from the Seattle area, who initially refused to identify himself. The male was eventually identified and found to have an outstanding Washington State Department of Corrections felony warrant for his arrest, as well as additional outstanding misdemeanor warrants out for his arrest from other regional jurisdictions. The male was arrested and taken to the Olympia Police Department where he was interviewed by detectives investigating the fire. The male provided some information about being in the area while walking. Detectives did not develop enough evidence to suggest that the male had involvement in the fire itself. The male was booked into jail for the outstanding arrest warrants.

In March of this year, the Olympia Police Department responded to and investigated an attempted arson at the same location. It is currently not known whether the two incidents are related although the circumstances are obviously similar.

In response to the fire, the Olympia Police Department sought assistance from the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives due to their specific expertise in fire investigation. Agents with that agency have taken over law enforcement investigation of the scene at the request of the Olympia Police Department. Detectives from the Olympia Police Department as well as fire investigators from the Olympia Fire Department remain actively involved as well. No suspects have been identified as of this release. At this time it is still unclear whether there will be video surveillance of today’s incident. Local partner law enforcement agencies have been asked to patrol other Jehovah’s Witnesses facilities in our local area. More information on that as well as the status of the investigation will be released as details are available.