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1995 MULTI LODD UPDATE: NEW DEVELOPMENT IN SEATTLE’S DEADLY PANG WAREHOUSE FIRE

     

Thursday, November 15, 2012 There is an admitted arsonist serving out his 35 year prison term at the Monroe Correctional Center who was a front page news story and a household name in this state 17 years ago as the man behind one of the most deadly arson fires in Northwest history.

It was the Mary Pang frozen food warehouse fire Jan. 4, 1995 in Seattle's International District that killed four Seattle firefighters when a floor collapsed underneath them plunging all of them into a burning basement below.

Because the building was so old and no construction details were available, the fire department did not know there was a basement below the first floor.

Killed in the inferno were Lt. Walter Kilgore, Lt. Gregory Shoemaker and firefighters Randall Terlicker and James Brown.

Seven other firefighters inside managed to escape the collapse, one of them by hanging on to the remaining floor and pulling himself to safety.

FAMILY SON WAS PRIME SUSPECT

Martin Pang, the son of the warehouse owners quickly became a prime suspect and fled to Brazil where he eventually told two FBI agents from a jail cell in that country that he had flown to Seattle from Los Angeles, set the warehouse fire and then flew back to California to create an alibi.

Pang signed a formal confession in March 1995. He pleaded guilty in 1998.

But now his attorney says there is new evidence that Pang was not in the area when the fire was set.

Defense attorney Jeff Ellis says during a review of the Martin Pang case file in the King County Prosecutor’s Office he uncovered some that had been kept secret and were not part of the trial, according to a new report by KING TV in Seattle.

Ellis says what he uncovered were “sworn statements by prosecutors and law enforcement officials and they swore out in very definitive terms unequivocally that Mr. Pang was in California at the time the warehouse fire was started,” according to the report which can be found here

Ellis now says the confession that led to the guilty plea was coerced and he has filed a new court motion claiming new evidence has been uncovered in the case.

PANG BLAZE CHANGED THE WAY FIRES ARE FOUGHT

The aftermath of the tragic Pang fire changed how the Seattle Fire Department went about fighting fires as there were state fines levied afterward for safety violations committed while fighting the fire and lawsuits from families of the firefighters killed.

There were many safety improvements instituted later that firefighters of today benefit from, including the fact that today department policies require crews responding to a fire be alerted to arson threats and any other potential hazards.

Those who responded to the Pang fire did not have a building plan and had not a clue about the basement below.

Today, crews at fire stations around the city do routine inspections on buildings to become familiar with the layouts of those structures and any potential hazards should a fire start in them, and hundreds of building plans are now maintained in a department computer database.

http://www.skyvalleychronicle.com/BREAKING-NEWS/NEW-DEVELOPMENT-IN-SEATTLE-S-DEADLY-PANG-WAREHOUSE-FIRE-1175263


 Martin Pang in 1990's after being
      returned to Seattle from Brazil. He is
      serving a 35 year prison term at the
      Monroe Correctional Complex


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