Man arrested after encampment fire burns Magnolia elementary school

A man has been arrested for allegedly starting a fire at a homeless encampment which then caused damage to a Seattle-area elementary school.

According to Seattle Police, just before 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, witnesses reported seeing a man setting a fire near the Catherine Blaine K-8 school on 34th Ave. W in Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood. 

A witness reported seeing a man setting a fire on the school property then leave once the surrounding building caught fire. It appears the man was in an alcove near an entrance of the school, according to SPD. 

Officers searched the area and found the man matching the witness descriptions. 

The 55-year-old was booked into King County Jail for reckless burning. 

The fire caused "substantial damage" to the school property. The cost of repair is unknown at this time.

"Fire damage was limited to a storage area just inside the entrance and there was no direct damage to any classrooms. The majority of the impact is smoke related," principal Patrick Gray wrote in a letter to parents.

Classes were canceled on Monday so crews could clean the smoke out. Classes resumed on Tuesday.