Police investigating 'bizarre' West Seattle arson

SEATTLE -- Police believe a Thursday afternoon fire that severely damaged a West Seattle home was set intentionally, and they're now investigating a "bizarre" story told by a man who lives behind the house.

Detectives with the Seattle Police Department's Arson/Bomb Squad are still trying to piece together all the details from what's described as a "strange incident," but they do know that someone called 911 just before 4 p.m. to report a house fire in the 7300 block of 16th Avenue SW.

When firefighters arrived moments later, they saw "flames shooting out of the house," according to Kyle Moore with the Seattle Fire Department.

The man who lived in the house was able to escape with only minor injuries, and fire crews quickly extinguished the blaze.

The story took a turn for the bizarre when police interviewed a man who lives in a "shack" directly behind the home. That man said he walked outside just before the fire started and saw a stranger standing on the roof of his shack.

Before he could make sense of what was happening, the man in the shack said he heard "two loud pops" and then saw flames climbing the side of his neighbor's house. It's unclear what happened to the strange man standing on the roof, who was described as being in his 20s with long hair.

Other witnesses -- including the man who lived in the burned house -- reported seeing a group of three young men running from the scene of the fire. Police don't know if the trio has any connection to the man on the roof.

Officers searched the area and called for a K9 unit, but were unable to locate any of the possible suspects.

The house suffered severe damage in the fire and the resident will not be able to return, according to Moore.

Detectives have labeled the fire an arson.