Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Extreme cash withdrawal or anti-bank protest?
This was the scene at the Bank of America branch in Madison Park this morning as police and fire crews investigated what appears to have been a deliberately set fire using accelerants. Whether this was some form of anti-Big Bank protest or simply a misguided attempt to extract money from BofA's ATM machine is not obvious. According to the Seattle Police Blotter, the fire was reported at 2:00 am this morning by Seattle Police officers responding to a bank alarm. The ATM was heavily in flames by that point, and the fire had spread into the building, including the attic. It took about 40 minutes for the fire to be put out, according to the Seattle Fire Department blog. The SPD also reported that Henry, the accelerant-sniffing dog, is responsible for determining that this was probably an arson fire.
This, courtesy of KING-TV, is what the building looked like after the fire had been doused:
We joked earlier this week that Madison Park is not the kind of neighborhood where residents are likely to toss bricks through the windows of a bank branch. But how about burning down a bank branch? Naw. Must be an out-of-area hit. Perhaps some kind of political Occupy Madison Park movement? If so, no one has apparently claimed credit.
KING-TV reported that cash in the ATM was definitely burned in the fire. The BofA branch, given the extent of the damage, is closed at least for the day. Multiple fire-clean-up crews and glass repair workers are active on site, but no word on when the branch will reopen for business. We understand that there was little fire damage to the public space in the branch but that significant water and smoke damage occurred in the room housing the Bank's servers. The fire department broke the glass doors on both sides of the branch in order gain entrance. Repair work was also underway today at Ewing & Clark, which shares the building with both BofA and a "pop-up" antique store.
[The Bank of America Branch is located at 4100 E. Madison Street. KING-TV's report is here.]