Lewis County Watch

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A structure made of wood and covered in tarp burned Wednesday morning at a homeless camp near I-5, according to an Olympia Police lieutenant, putting off large amounts of thick smoke in what detectives believe to be arson targeted at one specific campsite.

The Olympia Fire Department responded to the homeless camp adjacent to I-5 at Wheeler Avenue Southeast and Central Street Southeast at 7:21 a.m. Wednesday, according to Battalion Chief Dave Haag.

Haag said the source of visible black smoke and flames was a single campsite, and that responders were able to control the fire so it did not spread.

Nobody was injured in the blaze, according to Olympia Police Lt. Paul Lower, but most of the campsite burned down, including furniture and personal belongings.

The fire is being investigated as arson, Lower said, partly because it appeared the fire had been started by an accelerant from outside the structure. According to Chief Haag, someone on the scene told responders that a person had poured gasoline on the tarp-covered dwelling before running off.

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