Arson at Tacoma’s Historic Freighthouse Square Leads to Prison Sentence

The Incident and Arrest

On February 3, a 32-year-old man named Jabari Ahkiel Jones received a prison sentence for initiating two distinct fires, one of which caused significant damage to Tacoma's historic Freighthouse Square in 2023. Jones, who was captured on surveillance footage placing combustible materials against the venerable structure, pleaded guilty to first-degree arson and first-degree reckless burning, resulting in a six-year, five-month incarceration.

Details of the Freighthouse Square Fire

The attack on Freighthouse Square, a building exceeding 110 years of age, occurred on March 8, 2023. Jones's actions led to a fire that escalated a wall to the roof, leaving behind char marks and inflicting approximately $20,000 in damage. Despite the presence of Sounder commuter train staff and passengers inside the building when the fire broke out early in the morning, no injuries were reported, a testament to the event's swift response and fortunate circumstances.

Financial Protection

Additional Criminal Activities

Jones's criminal history further complicates the narrative. He was connected to another fire and explosion incident in July 2021, causing $15,000 in damages. This act involved igniting a piece of cardboard and exacerbating the fire with a liquid from a water bottle, showcasing a pattern of reckless endangerment to property and public safety. His record of multiple felony convictions in Pierce County underscores a troubling trajectory of criminal behavior.

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Impact on the Community

The Freighthouse Square fire is part of a series of arsons that have plagued the historic building, marking the eighth arson attempt in four years. The building's owner, Brian Borgelt, expressed the broader implications of such acts, highlighting the irreversible harm inflicted on families striving for livelihood and productivity. Despite the quick reopening of most businesses within the building, the recurring nature of these attacks poses a stark challenge to community security and resilience.

Reflection on the Sentence

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Jones's sentence closes a chapter on this particular series of arson attacks. Still, it opens a broader discussion on crime, punishment, and the ongoing efforts to safeguard community landmarks and the people connected. The judicial outcome reflects a decisive stance against arson, aiming to deter future acts of senseless destruction while addressing the complex interplay of justice, rehabilitation, and community well-being.

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