Arson suspect ordered held on $1 million bail

Arson suspect ordered held on $1 million bail »Play Video
Kevin Swalwell enters the courtroom Saturday.
SEATTLE - A homeless felon suspected in a string of arsons that has terrorized Seattle's Greenwood community in recent months was ordered held on $1 million bail at a Saturday court hearing.

Kevin Todd Swalwell, 46, was arrested early Friday near the scene of a 3-alarm fire that destroyed a vacant Shoreline warehouse. After questioning, he was booked into King County jail for investigation of arson.

 The fire in Shoreline early Friday.
The judge at Saturday's King County Superior Court hearing set a Tuesday hearing to consider formal charges against Swalwell.

Records show Swalwell has a lengthy criminal record, including two previous convictions for arson in 1995. Other felonies on his record include burglary, theft and possession of a controlled substance.

Officials say there have been 17 arsons in the Greenwood area in the past two months. Seattle Police Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh said it's possible that Swalwell may have started all of those fires.

Court documents obtained by KOMO News show that detectives linked Swalwell to an Aug. 13 arson by a palm print found on a container of charcoal lighter fluid left near the scene, a home in the 100 block of NW 84th Street.

Under questioning by detectives, Swalwell admitted to setting several of the Greenwood fires, including a Nov. 9 blaze set at the exterior rear of the Olive You restaurant in the 8500 block of Greenwood Avenue West, court papers show.

The string of arsons have caused millions of dollars in damage to area homes and businesses.

The worst fire in the neighborhood was on Oct. 23, when four restaurants were destroyed, causing $2 million damage.