Firefighters responded at about 1 a.m. to a report of smoke at the park, 14800 SE 272nd St., according to a Puget Sound Fire media release. A Puget Sound Fire investigator has determined that the fire was intentionally set and is considered arson, according the agency’s Facebook page.
When firefighters arrived, they found the single-story building with smoke coming from the eaves. Most of the fire was in the attic space and was spreading into the building’s individual rooms. Responders were forced to break into the offices to fight the fire.
No one was found in or near the building and there were no reported injuries.
The building serves as the office for the city of Kent’s lifeguards for the lake and much of their equipment. City officials have removed lifeguards from the park until futher notice.
The city just recently spent about $407,000 to remodel and upgrade the restrooms in the main building. The city used state grant money to pay for the project, funds leftover from the installation last year of a new swimming and fishing dock.
The restroom needed updating to improve function and aesthetics and to comply with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements, according to city documents. Crews installed new doors and restroom fixtures, added new bathroom stalls, new outdoor showers and converted the old concession stand to a new family restroom.
Lake Meridian Park is a popular location for fishing, boating and swimming. The park hosts many public events including the Fourth of July Splash and summertime concerts.