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Seattle woman and brother to receive award for helping authorities convict Greenwood arsonist

A Seattle woman and her brother will receive $18,500 for helping police arrest Kevin Todd Swalwell, who was convicted in a string of arsons in Greenwood two years ago, including the massive fire that destroyed an entire building housing four restaurants next to Taproot Theatre.

From the SPD Blotter:

A Seattle woman and her brother will receive an $18,500 award for giving authorities information that helped lead to the arrest and conviction of the Greenwood Arsonist. NW Insurance Council and Arson Alarm Foundation will present the award in partnership with the Seattle Fire Department and the Seattle Police Department on Monday, October 24, at 10:30 a.m. at the Taproot Theatre Company, 204 N. 85th St. Seattle.

Key Officials Attending: Paul McDonagh, Assistant Chief in Special Operations, Seattle Police Department; Chief John Nelson, Fire Marshall, Seattle Fire Department.

In May of 2010, Kevin Todd Swalwell pled guilty to setting 10 fires in Greenwood and one fire in Shoreline. A judge sentenced him to 30 years in prison. A tip led authorities to arrest Swalwell. Between June 19 and November 9, 2009, 19 fires were set in the Greenwood area causing an estimated more than 2.2 million dollars in damage. At that time, an Arson Task Force was formed between the Seattle Fire Department, The Seattle Police Department. Swalwell could only be connected to 10 of these fires. One of the fires caused $2 million in damage to the Taproot Theatre and four restaurants on Oct. 23 and one person suffered non-life threatening burns during one of the fires.

The Arson Alarm Foundation offered a large reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the arsonist. The reward led the brother and sister to come forward with information that assisted investigators in solving the case. “Arsonists hurt all of us by destroying lives and property and by driving up insurance rates,” said Karl Newman, NW Insurance Council president. “We are pleased to award citizens who come forward to help investigators solve these damaging and potentially fatal crimes.”

Arson is a deadly and costly crime. Nationally, arson kills hundreds of people each year, injures thousands and destroys hundreds of millions of dollars in property while putting firefighters at needless risk. Arson also is a difficult crime to solve. FBI statistics show only 17 percent of all arson offenses result in arrests. Anyone with information about an arson or suspicious fire is urged to call the Arson Hotline (800-55-ARSON) or local authorities. Callers may remain anonymous and could be eligible for an award. NW Insurance Council and Arson Alarm Foundation offer an annual $10,000 Arson Award Fund for Washington residents who provide tips to authorities that result in the arrest or conviction of arsonists. The Arson Alarm Foundation has awarded more than $100,000 to Washington citizens over the past 12 years. NW Insurance Council and Arson Alarm have sponsored the Arson Award Fund since 1978.

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