Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Recent Fires at Westside Store

The Westside Co-op has recently suffered two fires near and in the structure that houses our garbage, recycling, and the Free Store.

Many of you heard about the fire on Sunday night that burnt part of the back fence of the recycling structure, as well as part of the overhang that keeps us dry as we go in and out of the back door (see picture below). The fire occurred late at night after the store was closed. We were very lucky that one of the Co-op's neighbors saw the smoke and flames and called 911. To this neighbor we extend our deep gratitude! Police and firefighters arrived promptly and extinguished the fire.

The Westside Co-op then suffered a second fire, in the same general area, almost 24 hours after the first one. The second fire was inside a recycling bin. Luckily, a co-op staff member who was walking his dog nearby saw the flames and was able to pull the burning bin out from under the overhang/structure and call 911. Many thanks to this quick-thinking staff member!

Overall, damage to the Co-op has been minimal and no one has been hurt.

There is an ongoing police investigation into these fires; at this point, police believe the fires were intentionally set. We do not know who lit the fires, whether it was the same person both nights, or why this is happening now. An officer informed a staff member that at least one person has been questioned, but other than this, we have no further information. Rest assured that when we learn more, we will let you know!

In the meantime, we ask that all Co-op members - particularly those that live nearby the stores - keep an extra eye out for anything out of the ordinary. If you see anything suspicious, please tell a staff member immediately and/or call 911.

Co-op members with additional information about either of these fires should also contact the Olympia Police Department.