Greenwood Arson Charges Filed

By Jonah Spangenthal-Lee November 17, 2009

King County prosecutors have filed arson and burglary charges against Kevin Todd Swalwell, who was arrested last week in connection with a series of fires set in North Seattle area over the last few months. All told, Swalwell was charged with 11 counts of arson and one count of burglary.

Police and court records indicate Swalwell used materials found near businesses to set a number of fires, which did millions of dollars in damage and left one man with "significant burn wounds."

According to prosecutors, Swalwell set the first fire on June 19th at the OK Corral restaurant in Greenwood, using cardboard found at the scene. The fire did $500 in damage, and the business never reopened.

The next fire was set two months later, on August 12th, at a vacant house in Greenwood, prosecutors say. Swalwell allegedly used a lit copy of the Seattle Weekly to start a fire at the house, causing $100 in damage.

The next day, Swalwell allegedly set fire to a business at 1100 block of N 98th Street, using lit cardboard, which he pushed through a mail slot. The fire caused $15,000 in damage. That evening, Swalwell allegeldy used lighter fluid to start a fire at a home in 100 block of NW 84t Street. A man in sixties was injured, and the fire caused $170,000 in damage. Police recovered a bottle of lighter fluid at the scene and were able to get a palm print.

Swalwell's biggest burn, prosecutors say, came on October 23rd, when he allegedly torched the Green Bean Coffee House near 85th and Greenwood. The fire also destroyed three other businesses and caused $2,000,000 damage. As we reported on Friday, police believe Swalwell also made off with the coffee shop's safe.

After going quiet for a few weeks, Swalwell again began setting fires, this time at an increasingly alarming rate. On November 5th, Swalwell allegedly set fire to an accounting firm in Greewnood, causing $5,000 in damage. On the 8th, prosecutors say Swalwell set fire to a photo business, before torching the Olive You restaurant and a corner store, causing $20,500 in damages. Finally, on November 12th, police caught up with Swalwell near the site of a massive fire at a warehouse in Shoreline, which took 80 firefighters to staunch the $700,000 blaze. Swalwell was arrested at a bus stop about a mile from the scene.

Prosecutors say they will seek a sentence of more than 30 years for Swalwell.

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