Last week, City of Yakima officials urged community members to provide any information they might have about recent suspicious fires in Yakima. Now, community members have even more incentive to share relevant information about the fires – cash rewards.
Both Yakima County Crime Stoppers and the Arson Alarm Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Renton, are offering rewards for information that lead to the arrest(s) of whoever is responsible for the fires. Yakima County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 and the Arson Alarm Foundation is offering an award from its annual fund for tips that help investigators find out who started the suspicious fires. The Arson Alarm Foundation offers a fund of $10,000 from which varying cash awards are made to individuals who provide information that helps authorities arrest or convict arsonists.
Since July 1st, 26 fires have occurred in Yakima that are suspected of being the result of arson, a number fire officials say is unusually high. The highest profile suspicious fire happened in the early morning hours of Friday, August 10th at Fruit Packers Supply (1102 N. 16th Avenue) and caused an estimated $20 million or more in damage. Early in the morning on the previous day, Thursday, August 9th, a fire at the same facility caused an estimated $1 million of damage.
In addition to Yakima Fire Department (“YFD”) fire investigators and Yakima Police Department (“YPD”) detectives, agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) are actively investigating the suspicious fires.
Tips about the suspicious fires can be reported to Yakima County Crime Stoppers by phone at 1-800-248-9980, on the organization’s website at crimestoppersyakco.org, or by downloading the “P3 Tips” app for free and submitting information through the app.
Anyone with information about the suspicious fires can also contact Yakima Police Department detectives at 575-6200.
“The City is devoting considerable resources and is aggressively pursuing every possible lead in order to determine who is responsible for the high number of suspicious fires that have taken place so far this year,” said Communications & Public Affairs Director Randy Beehler. “But the more eyes and ears that are out there helping keep our community safe the better. People are encouraged to share whatever information they may have, no matter how significant or insignificant they may think it is,” said Beehler.