Prolific offender admits to causing massive encampment fire in Seattle, released with no charges filed

Alcantara has a rap sheet dating back to 1998 with three felonies, 14 gross misdemeanors, three dozen prior arrests including rape in the third degree, and multiple substance charges.

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA
A prolific offender who has been accused of causing a massive fire at a notorious homeless encampment near Google offices in downtown Seattle was released on Thursday with no charges filed.

According to court documents, witnesses saw Paris Alcantara, the man accused of starting the fire, running away from the scene at the Mercer Street ramp in South Lake Union.

He claimed the fire was an accident after a candle fell over in his tent while he was cleaning it and then the fire grew out of control.

Alcantara had been booked for reckless burning, but according to a spokesperson for King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office (KCPAO), the case was not referred to them, and as a result, they were unable to file charges.

The investigation has been sent to the Seattle City Attorney’s Office because, under state law, the charge of Reckless Burning can either be filed as a felony or gross misdemeanor based on evidence, and misdemeanor jurisdiction falls under the City Attorney.

The spokesperson for KCPAO said in a statement to The Post Millennial, "Felony charges can hold someone in the KCJ, but the jail still has booking restrictions on misdemeanor/gross misdemeanor crimes."

Alcantara has a rap sheet dating back to 1998 with three felonies, 14 gross misdemeanors, three dozen prior arrests including rape in the third degree, and multiple substance charges.

This is the second massive fire in the area this summer. Last month, massive explosions rocked Seattle after improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were placed, as part of a drug turf war, in an encampment next to Harborview Medical Center, according to police.
In the three days since the latest massive fire, the city has yet to clear the encampment, which has been at that location in various forms for 3 years. It even features a house built by the campers. Some of the campers have set up tents on the other side of Mercer St.

Neighbors have seen at least three fires before this one, and have witnessed multiple other crimes including assault, and regularly hear gunshots. Complaints to the city have gone unheeded for months.

In March, a woman was found strangled to death at the encampment. Her body was not discovered for days and Alcantara was the one who discovered it.

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell’s office told Fox 13 that city crews were onsite Wednesday for cleanup. However, due to the level of dust and soot, combined with the heat in the area, work was put on hold. The mayor’s office wrote in a statement to the outlet, "Plans are being implemented to ensure cleaning can continue safely next week. Outreach will continue to engage onsite to offer connections to services and shelter for any remaining individuals."  

The mayor’s office also said that crews will be clearing out the encampment in the next two to three weeks.
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