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Restrooms destroyed at Double Bluff Beach

Interim county parks superintendent Lee McFarland surveys the damage done to the restrooms by arsonists over Memorial Day weekend. The facility is a total loss. - Jeff VanDerford
Interim county parks superintendent Lee McFarland surveys the damage done to the restrooms by arsonists over Memorial Day weekend. The facility is a total loss.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford

FREELAND — Sometime early Monday morning, a suspected arsonist torched the restrooms at Double Bluff Beach and burned the toilets to the ground.

There are no leads in the crime, but Island County Sheriff Mark Brown said the fire is suspicious in nature.

The fire follows a series of suspected arsons on the South End.

“There has been a rash of small arsons in the Freeland area, usually between midnight and 3 a.m. We are actively investigating,” Brown said.

“We hope residents won’t hesitate to phone in any unusual activity; either call 911 or the South End business office at 321-4400,” he said.

Lee McFarland, interim superintendent for Island County Parks, called it a total loss after visiting the site on Tuesday.

“There has been a pattern of escalating vandalism to park properties recently, and I’m concerned that at some point people will get hurt,” McFarland said.

Earlier this month, vandals set a trash bucket on fire at Freeland Park. There have been graffiti problems at Clinton Beach Park, as well.

At Double Bluff, there wasn’t much left of the restrooms after the fire. A solid steel door lay buckled from the intense heat and timbers were reduced to cinder matchsticks.

“Rebuilding this will be an expensive proposition,” McFarland said.

It could cost about $80,000, he said.

There is no timeline for replacing the facility, McFarland added.

Visitors to the beach on Monday were distressed at the mess and the loss of the restrooms, Freeland resident Karen Streicher said.

“People were incensed there were no bathrooms,” she said. “This isn’t just a nuisance, but a potential health hazard.”

McFarland didn’t know about the arson until Tuesday morning.

“We had portable facilities delivered within a half hour,” McFarland said.

“If anyone has any information about this senseless crime, I would ask they contact the sheriff right away,” he added.

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