VIdeo: Fire destroys Arbor Heights home; water problems; firefighter hurt

August 27, 2011 at 5:35 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle fires, West Seattle news | 97 Comments

(EDITOR’S NOTE: SFD has now announced the cause. New story here.)

(WSB photo by Tracy Record)
ORIGINAL 5:35 PM REPORT: On our way to house-fire call in the 10200 block of 41st SW. Black smoke can be seen from more than a mile away. (added 5:43 pm) Near the scene. Police and fire are blocking 102nd near Arbor Heights Community Church. More shortly.

(Video added 6:16 pm)
5:50 PM UPDATE: We’re right next to the house with spectators. It is fully engulfed in flames. A neighbor says she does not believe the residents were home.

5:58 PM UPDATE: Still burning. A tree between the house and its neighboring home caught fire and the people next door are fighting desperately to make sure their home doesn’t catch fire too.

Dozens of neighbors are watching and at times cheering the firefighters. The neighbor who believes the homeowners weren’t here when it started says that she got a knock on the door, telling her the neighbors’ home was burning. No word of any injuries so far. Neighbors say it appears the hydrants might have been having problems initially – we’ll be checking on that with SFD.

6:16 PM: We’ve just heard a firefighter’s radio crackle with the word the fire is under control. No word on the cause yet, they’re still actively fighting it. But it is more smoke and charred wood now, still some flames visible inside. We just added video from the height of the fire, and will add a newer photo in a moment.

6:26 PM: They’re still pouring water on the fire. Other media just now arriving. The sun’s rays are making an eerie pattern through the trees that surround this house.

7:05 PM: Fire Chief Gregory Dean has just briefed the media. He says a firefighter suffered burns and was taken to Harborview. He confirms that there was a problem with hydrants and with water pressure; also, fire units took longer to get here than they normally would have, because primary responding companies were tied up with aid calls.

(Photo by Tony Bradley)
The first truck to arrive was a ladder truck, which doesn’t carry water. Subsequent companies used their water, and finally a line was laid to 35th SW to get water at full pressure. This was officially a two-alarm fire. We have the fire chief’s full briefing on video and will upload it as soon as we can. (added – here it is:)

Absolutely no indication yet what caused the fire; investigators can’t even get into what’s left of it, yet. still many, many firefighters still on scene. As for other hydrants in the area – we asked SFD spokesperson Kyle Moore; he says Seattle Public Utilities is responsible for hydrants, so we will have to ask them about what they plan to do to make sure that other hydrants in the area are OK. Thanks also to everyone who has sent photos and video – we will be reviewing them when we get back to HQ shortly.

ADDED EARLY SUNDAY: Some of the other scenes, from both the fire location and from far away, as people noticed black smoke rising high into the air – pictures ahead:

Kane Jamison took that photo from the Vashon ferry. Kane lives just a few blocks from the fire scene and at first worried it was his house. Tina Doherty saw it from Constellation Park south of Alki Point:

Trina saw it all the way from Pike Place Market!

Sara‘s view was too close for comfort – she lives two doors down, and here’s how she saw it:

Another photo from Tony Bradley, looking at the front of the house as the fire spread:

And WSB contributor Katie Meyer shot this one, after the fire was under control.

As of very early Sunday morning, still no cause announced.

12:27 PM SUNDAY: The cause has now been announced — accidental, material in a “portable fire pit” in the garage spontaneously combusting. We’ve started a new followup here.

97 Comments

  1. Wow! They just came FLYING down Thistle. Hope all is ok.

    Comment by fast — 5:37 pm August 27, 2011 #

  2. it sounds and looks big. lots of smoke, lots of sirens. hope everyone is ok.

    Comment by HelperMonkety — 5:48 pm August 27, 2011 #

  3. Cant get water out of the hydrants so they are pulling everyone out and trying to keep it from spreading to the next house

    Comment by clark5080 — 5:50 pm August 27, 2011 #

  4. I’m on Genesee and can see it. Smoke turned white for a minute, but is black again.

    Comment by diane — 5:50 pm August 27, 2011 #

  5. They have been flying up 35th Ave SW and Morgan St SW as well… and Have had to lay on their horns and get on the PA to get jack ass drivers to move out of their way!!… MOVE TO THE RIGHT FOR SIRENS OR LIGHTS PEOPLE!!!!!…. If you can’t move over, STOP where you are, THEY will find a way around you…. Here comes more sirens right now… I hope all the people and pets made it out safely

    Comment by S — 5:55 pm August 27, 2011 #

  6. Oh NO! Goosebumps looking at that. How did it get that bad? How sad.

    Comment by jeez — 5:59 pm August 27, 2011 #

  7. Wow. Lots of chatter on the scanner about no water pressure or no water at all from the hydrants. This isn’t gonna end well :-(

    Comment by schwaggy — 6:01 pm August 27, 2011 #

  8. OMG!!! Just saw the picture…. Thats HORRIBLE!!! My thoughts to the people who’s home this is… Goddess please let them and their pets have gotten out of that ok. Been in 2 fires before.. So Scarey!!!!!

    Comment by S — 6:02 pm August 27, 2011 #

  9. I could see the smoke easily from California and Genesee, four miles away. It was HUGE and scary-looking. Those poor people.

    Comment by EE — 6:08 pm August 27, 2011 #

  10. Family cat was rescued in the alley by a neighbor named Harley. It is unknown if the homeowners were at home.

    Comment by martha Callard — 6:08 pm August 27, 2011 #

  11. Have been hearing the sirens forever. So glad you guys always have the latest and hope no one is hurt.

    Comment by Jhube — 6:08 pm August 27, 2011 #

  12. SW 104th street is closed to through traffic between 41st & 42nd Ave. SW.

    Comment by Scott — 6:09 pm August 27, 2011 #

  13. You can listen to the activity if you have the Police Scanner app. They’re discussing water supply. Best wishes to our neighbors.

    Comment by Kerry — 6:11 pm August 27, 2011 #

  14. I Hear seattle fire is having trouble getting water out of the Hydrants?

    Comment by Billy — 6:11 pm August 27, 2011 #

  15. Did anybody get hurt ? Any pets ?

    Comment by Just a teen — 6:14 pm August 27, 2011 #

  16. What’s this about no water in the hydrant?????

    Comment by J — 6:18 pm August 27, 2011 #

  17. They are having to get water from 35th and pump it thru several firetrucks to get the water to the fire

    Comment by clark5080 — 6:18 pm August 27, 2011 #

  18. We live closeby and there’s been a consistent flow of response for what feels like the last 40 minutes. Friends said they saw trucks coming over the bridge, responding from beyond West Seattle. I wonder how many firehouses have responded? I hope that everyone is safe.

    Comment by KM — 6:19 pm August 27, 2011 #

  19. I am listening to the real time fire scanner. They are having a lot of trouble with the hydrants not working! Either low pressure or no water at all! The last thing I just heard is they are running hoses all the way from 35th up to 41st! This really bothers me as I live just a few blocks away. Who do we contact about checking the hydrants around here?

    Comment by Michael Waldo — 6:20 pm August 27, 2011 #

  20. Took about 45 minutes for all those aid vehicles to arrive on site. I hope no one was home!

    Comment by Lisa A — 6:23 pm August 27, 2011 #

  21. I heard bystanders say that the hydrants didn’t work. Can you check into this?! It supports what I saw – fire fighters with hoses that did not work well. I also heard that the owners are away camping.

    Comment by Tim — 6:32 pm August 27, 2011 #

  22. Noticed in the video that the fire men were not hittig the fire with water. Should we worry about the hydrants by or homes? I hope everyone is ok. Maybe WSB can ask Seattle fire about the rest of the hydrants in the hood. We have one close to our house, and I would like to think it works.

    Comment by foy boy — 6:33 pm August 27, 2011 #

  23. We are adding info to the story as we can. I am working from right behind the house in the alley, where I have been since running up and seeing the house fully engulfed and bystanders already here. Nobody was home, by multiple neighbor accounts. A woman who talked to the neighbors say it’s believed two dogs and a cat were rescued. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 6:34 pm August 27, 2011 #

  24. Hoses everywhere. SFD found a bunch of dead hydrants!

    Comment by Dan — 6:35 pm August 27, 2011 #

  25. It really makes you wonder about the water because the way that burned it looked like it could have been ignited on purpose. However if there wasn’t enough water that makes sense that it is a total loss. Sad.

    Comment by water — 6:36 pm August 27, 2011 #

  26. I was there about a half hour ago. I heard they were camping & the two dogs are with them. The cat was saved & hopefully on the way to the vet.

    it is going to be a total loss and the neighborhood plus my husband are totally traumatized

    There are hoses snaked everywhere in the neighborhood and water has been a problem from the get go.

    Pray for these poor folks.

    Comment by batgurrl — 6:38 pm August 27, 2011 #

  27. Glad no one was home and that the pets are safe. Been listening to the scanner since they started coming up 35th Ave… was feeling the frustration of the hydrants not working properly or not at all. So awful, total loss it looks like. Not something you want to come home too, but at least they weren’t inside. My thoughts go out to the family.

    Comment by S — 6:45 pm August 27, 2011 #

  28. We counted 20 firetrucks doing down 35th & 102nd. We could see the black smoke from our entry porch. SW 102nd to 40th is blocked off as is SW 100th.

    Comment by Lisa — 6:48 pm August 27, 2011 #

  29. WSB thats good news. Our pets are like family.

    Comment by foy boy — 6:48 pm August 27, 2011 #

  30. We looked at the Seattle Fire 411 Realtime for this fire, the wrong address was listed several times as 10217, the address of the fire is 10236.

    Comment by Lisa — 7:02 pm August 27, 2011 #

  31. I live on the 102nd corridor. Emergency vehicles and fire trucks are still heading into the area even now that the fire is over. What’s really been annoying the last half hour or so is the constant stream of vehicles filled with gawkers and spectators, many loudly drunk, speeding toward and away from the scene. Just exactly what is NOT needed. Go home, morons. Get your thrills somewhere else.

    Comment by anonyme — 7:05 pm August 27, 2011 #

  32. I live at the house on the right, it got touched by the flames but not a lot of damage. The family is this house is at Ocean Shores right now and their dogs and cats were rescued

    Comment by Austin — 7:07 pm August 27, 2011 #

  33. wow what a terrible thing to happen on a nice sunny day, glad the family pets safe. I hope humans are safe. Curious to hear what the He** happened with hydrants and I agree…who does check those??? And curious to see what caused fire and for to go down so quickly. I have been in a fire, nothing like this but its very scary. I will be thinking of this family.

    Comment by ca — 7:11 pm August 27, 2011 #

  34. I just talked to a fireman manning a pumper truck at the corner of 100th and 42nd Ave SW, and he said he was pretty sure there were at LEAST TWO hydrants that did not work.

    A neighbor further down the street said her and her husband have lived in Arbor Heights for 40 years and she was under the impression that there are still WOODEN water mains in parts of Arbor Heights? Don’t know if there is any truth to that – but having even ONE hydrant that is not working seems inexcusable. Don’t they have a plan for regular testing?

    Comment by Kevin — 7:11 pm August 27, 2011 #

  35. Do we know the extact address yet?

    Comment by Tiffany — 7:13 pm August 27, 2011 #

  36. If you live in the neighborhood, check your hot water heater and pipes in your house. They must have had the city jack up the water pressure and several of our neighbors had the pressure relief valve going off. It takes over 100 psi to do that so check the pipes.

    Comment by Eric — 7:17 pm August 27, 2011 #

  37. The address of the fire is 10236 41st Ave SW.

    Comment by luckymom30 — 7:19 pm August 27, 2011 #

  38. For those who are checking comments before the main story, the Fire Chief has just briefed media and talks about the hydrants. I’m adding the video so you all can hear for yourself. There will be many followups to this, believe me. After the interview, he said they check the hydrants at least twice a year. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 7:20 pm August 27, 2011 #

  39. Eric – I just finished adding the chief’s briefing and he does say SPU is on scene and has upped the pressure.

    Comment by WSB — 7:28 pm August 27, 2011 #

  40. A few years back one of our family members lost her home to fire in Kent. Again, the issue was no water pressure. Further investigation found that rocks and pebbles had built up in the pipes behind the screen that led to the hydrant. King 5 news covered the fire and the community meetings that followed. TR – I hope this is not the case in Arbor Heights.

    Comment by Paula T — 7:46 pm August 27, 2011 #

  41. I counted about 35 fire vehicles sent to this fire on the Seattle 911 site.

    Comment by Paul — 8:01 pm August 27, 2011 #

  42. Upped the pressure..after the house has burnt to a crisp? oops..

    Comment by Jiggers — 8:30 pm August 27, 2011 #

  43. Seattle has one great fire department.

    Comment by Michael Kelly — 8:47 pm August 27, 2011 #

  44. Excellent reporting WSB! what would we do without you? Prayers for the family and thank God the pets are ok.

    Comment by 3cheers — 8:52 pm August 27, 2011 #

  45. I have a fire hydrant on my parking (planting) strip. Years ago they used to do an active visual test where they would take off the cover, turn the valve and water would flow. One day long, long ago they stopped “wasting” water and switched to a passive test, only turning the valve. No water is seen in this test and it always made me wonder if such testing proves the hydrant has the capacity to fight a fire.

    Comment by dsa — 9:07 pm August 27, 2011 #

  46. I live 5 houses away from the one that burned and was onsite well before the fire department got there. I would very much like to know how to improve the fire response here (hoses, units). I was told today that Arbor Heights has no fire district, so response is slower since they have to come further. Also the lack of water is a joke. Fire hoses were going down to 35th and 100th! The house was completely gone by the time the fire department even got there, so water was mainly needed to keep the houses next door from burning, but still. Let’s figure out what needs to be done. I don’t want to see this happen again.

    So glad to hear the pets are safe.

    Comment by Lynn — 9:11 pm August 27, 2011 #

  47. I hope the firefighter that was sent to Harborview is doing okay and was not too badly burned. A huge thank you to the firefighters for all they do every day. It must be awful to not have the hydrants work. I’m glad that it wasn’t worse.

    Comment by NativeToSeattle — 10:05 pm August 27, 2011 #

  48. Just want to reiterate the 5:55 comment from “S”… pull to the extreme right and stop when there’s an emergency vehicle. But also use common sense. If there’s still not room for them to fit through, someone is going to have to pull forward to make room — if everyone’s stopped but you can see the emergency vehicle is still blocked several cars back, stay to the right but cautiously pull forward to allow those behind you to make more room. It may mean you don’t make a turn you were going to make originally, but do it anyway. I work high up in an office building downtown and get a bird’s eye view of these blockages all day long, and it’s completely unnecessary, and lives are at stake.

    Comment by Neil — 10:07 pm August 27, 2011 #

  49. And to add insult to injury, the two closest engine companies (E11 and E37) were on another call (major medical response), when the call for the fire came in. That means units from MUCh further away responded to the fire. I would like to see the response time for the first unit on scene.

    WSB, you should look into this angle as well.

    Comment by Kris — 10:22 pm August 27, 2011 #

  50. I knew something was bad when the fire engines started to go past my house. They must have sent every engine in West Seattle to this one. There was 14 engines that went past my house on 35th SW plus other vehicles.
    Hope everyone else is OK and that the fire fighter wasn’t badly hurt.

    Comment by Janet — 10:22 pm August 27, 2011 #

  51. I guess I didn’t finish my comment about that angle, Kris. One of the calls involved a child in High Point who needed resuscitation, reportedly something to do with window-covering cord. We were headed that way to check it out when the fire call came in and we diverted. I have no idea at this point if that child survived – I asked the fire PIO at this scene but he had no info. I don’t know what they could have done differently about that. Notably, as I mentioned to a neighbor while chatting, it has been said that if Seattle annexed White Center and the rest of the unincorporated area, Arbor Heights could have closer fire service because of the North Highline stations. Currently, though, Burien is moving forward on potential annexation (currently in a stage of reviewing reports on potential financial impact) while Seattle has said they’re pretty sure they can’t afford it but will say something early next year if they change their mind (they had dibs on this section until end of this year, but told Burien, hey, if YOU want to go ahead, go right ahead).

    Comment by WSB — 10:36 pm August 27, 2011 #

  52. We were on site about 5:40 as my in-laws’ house is very nearby. We were in the alley as the cat ran out and was rescued and put in a carrier to go to the vet. This family is going to need help and support in the coming days… Let’s focus on that WSB… Ideas?

    Comment by Wendy — 10:53 pm August 27, 2011 #

  53. Clothing drive, school supplies, gently used furnature/home items… anyone got a rental property that could be rented to the family??? Monitary donations… There was a man interviewed on Channel 7 who I believe said he was the lady’s exhusband, who said that he was going to be helping them get back up on their feet again… Car washes, bake sales etc…

    Comment by S — 11:53 pm August 27, 2011 #

  54. The owners of the two dogs just came and picked up Lucy & Chica. Lucy & Chica were very happy to see them.

    Comment by neighbor — 12:22 am August 28, 2011 #

  55. “dsa”, here is a King 5 story from 8/22/11 concerning fire hydrants. It will answer some of your questions on the subject: http://www.king5.com/video/featured-videos/Western-Washington-cities-tackling-defective-fire-hydrants-128184028.html
    .
    Kris, at 1700 (5PM), the two closest Fire Engines (37 & 11) were dispatched on a “CPR call” for an unconcious infant. Medic 1 later transported the patient to the hospital with E-37 firefighters assisting in the Medic Unit during the transport.
    .
    The first 911 call (of many) for the house fire came at 1726 hours. The first two Fire Engines came from Stations 32 & 36. These units arrived between 8 to 10 minutes after the 911 call, a much longer response time than E-37 would have had if they were not on a resuscitation.
    .
    Typically for this fire situation (a fully involved house with two immediate exposures on either side), a MINIMUM water flow of 600 gallons per minute would be wanted: 300 gpm for the original house and 150 gpm for each of the exposure houses. Unfortunately, per Seattle Public Utilities, all of the water mains in the neighborhood are 2″ & 4″ mains – they were incapable of supplying the needed ‘fire flow’. SPU directed the Fire Department north several blocks to the hydrants on 100 St SW, which has an 8″ water main capable of providing adequate flow for firefighting.

    Comment by ltfd — 1:02 am August 28, 2011 #

  56. Sounds like SPU might have a lawsuit coming up. They are responsible for having those hydrants working correct?
    .
    The info above regarding 37 and 11 being dispatched for an unconscious infant puts this fire into perspective, things could have been worse. A loss of a house is horrible, but if nobody is harmed, it’s just an object that was lost and more than likely (hopefully) homeowners insurance will cover it.
    .
    Hope the infant at the other scene is okay.

    Comment by Mike — 1:25 am August 28, 2011 #

  57. Remember, this is in unincorporated Seattle since it is over the Roxbury line. Don’t know if that makes a difference.

    Comment by Mander — 2:12 am August 28, 2011 #

  58. @Mander: http://clerk.ci.seattle.wa.us/~public/nmaps/images/NN-1537L.Jpg shows 10200 block of 41st SW as being in Seattle.

    Comment by SeattleGuy — 3:44 am August 28, 2011 #

  59. Sorry, I missed Mander’s comment or I would have said the same thing. This is definitely in the city limits. Roxbury is *not* the border when you get to its north end – the unincorporated-south-of-Roxbury area starts several blocks east of 35th.

    Comment by WSB — 4:12 am August 28, 2011 #

  60. My cousins & her two kids lived there. They were away camping for the weekend so everyone is safe. But they lost EVERYTHING they own but are grateful that the neighbors were able to rescue their dogs/cats. Thank you for your prayers. Still no word to the cause of the fire.

    Comment by Joyce — 5:58 am August 28, 2011 #

  61. Less than a month ago my next door neighbor’s mail box was cherry bombed and flattened in the middle of the night. I live across the street from the entrance to the back alley, where the fire supposedly started. Connection…?

    Comment by Tami H — 7:02 am August 28, 2011 #

  62. I talked to one of the police officers guarding a street full of running hoses – blocks away – and told him it was a shame they had to do this. He agreed and said that in this part of town, he wouldn’t be surprised if we probably still have wooden conducts under the street for the water to run to the hydrants.

    Comment by Tim — 7:50 am August 28, 2011 #

  63. TH, hopefully we will hear more from the fire department today. The back alley is where I went immediately upon arriving at the scene (that’s where I shot the photo and video atop the story) and there was no sign of anything burning before you reached the house, across the back yard, but certainly investigators will have looked/be looking everywhere – TR

    Comment by WSB — 8:01 am August 28, 2011 #

  64. Arbor Heights was annexed over 50 years ago, yet even City employees will still act as if it is unincorporated KC. We’re consistently stiffed on services at all levels compared to other West Seattle neighborhoods. South of Roxbury AND west of 30th is in Seattle City limits; the southern boundary is not as clearly defined, but ends around 116th or so.

    As Tim and several others pointed out, AH has lots of wooden conduits. Several are visible on 104th within a few blocks of the fire.

    Comment by anonyme — 8:10 am August 28, 2011 #

  65. Good thing we pay such high taxes so those high paid firemen and women can protect us from fire.
    Oh wait, they just stood there and watched it burn because they are too busy playing ping pong in the firehouse instead of checking hydrants.
    Time to rethink police who don’t protect us and firepeople who don’t do their jobs.
    Why do we pay them so much? Taxes are too high!

    Comment by LR — 8:11 am August 28, 2011 #

  66. I live directly 1 block west on 104th. Did anyone else have brown/muddy looking water come out of their tap last night? Does anyone know if this is normal after fire hydrant use/increased water pressure? Should I be concerned about water quality?

    My thoughts and well wishes go out to the homeowners. And they don’t even know about it yet. :(

    Comment by Tara — 8:16 am August 28, 2011 #

  67. This was my granddaughter’s mom’s home. Everything was destroyed. The family was camping in Ocean Shores. So at least they are safe. Thank God the two dogs and two cats got out. One of the little kitties was burned and is at the vets right now.The only living casualty was the two pet turtles. We heard that a neighbor kicked in the door to get the pets out. Thank You who ever you are.

    Comment by Barbara Schrader — 8:30 am August 28, 2011 #

  68. Sounds to me like the Seattle FD did the best the could with the tools they have. I wish people would stop placing blame where (at least for now) none seems warranted.
    .
    Units get calls for all sorts of things during a 24 hour day. We, the public, do NOT get decide what or who has priority. That’s up to SFD, SPD, dispatch, etc. What the heck do *I* know about how to prioritize these emergencies? Zip. That’s what.
    .
    As for SPU being responsible for the Arbor Height water mains being old, outdated, inadequate, the wrong size, the wrong pressure, etc., we won’t know more until we know more. Speculation isn’t helping this unfortunate family or their pets with shelter, clothes, food or comfort. I say let’s keep the focus where it belongs. SFD got the fire out. In doing so, one of THEIR guys was hurt (hello! Let’s not forget that!).
    .
    Meanwhile, no one was home, no one was hurt, and neighboring homes weren’t significantly damaged (if at all).
    .
    As awful as I would feel if my home were destroyed, in the end, it’s just stuff (as George Carlin would say). Stuff means nada in lieu of the people & critters we love.
    .
    Hope we, as a community, can help this family get back on their feet. Thanks WSB for reporting the story. Thanks SFD for taking care of us. Wishing the best for the injured firefighter as well.

    Comment by Jasperblu — 9:56 am August 28, 2011 #

  69. LR, the fire hydrants are the responsibility of Seattle Public Utilities, as Fire Chief Dean explained in the media briefing. Fire crews check hydrants twice a year to help, but SPU is accountable for being sure they work, he said. I will be talking to them tomorrow regarding what the testing protocol is and what’s being done to make sure there are no other undetected problems like this – TR

    Comment by WSB — 10:03 am August 28, 2011 #

  70. Well said Jasperblu. Ditto.

    Comment by mapgrl — 10:15 am August 28, 2011 #

  71. Where is the best place to leave donations for the family? Any particular organization or neighborhood group coordinating aid?

    Any info would be appreciated. Thanks.

    Comment by Catherine — 10:44 am August 28, 2011 #

  72. Catherine – I’m checking on that this morning. Will publish a separate story as soon as we have that information – and if anyone reading this already knows, please either post it here or e-mail us at editor@westseattleblog.com so we can get the word out … Tracy

    Comment by WSB — 10:49 am August 28, 2011 #

  73. @LR-I find your comment appalling. Perhaps you should tell this to the firefighters who might have to pull you out of a burning house, or a burning car. Perhaps you can tell them you think you pay too much for their willingness to put their own lives at risk to save a nickel and diming miser like yourself.
    The irony is that perhaps if we actually paid more in taxes the infrastructure of this city would be modern and designed to handle the current population. Don’t want to pay for such things then please sign off on having services like the fire department when you need them and good luck to ya.

    Comment by Neighbor — 10:53 am August 28, 2011 #

  74. After our house got broken into the police told us there was nothing they can do. So they did nothing. I actually have been helped by the fire department on the one call they went out on that week.
    Neighbor I find your comment disgusting and appalling. How in the world can those people pay such high taxes and then have the highly paid fire department stand there and watch it burn to the ground??? That is appalling. And then blame SPU.
    Ask the firemen about their second jobs. Ask them about how few calls they go on and what they do with their time at the fire station. Get the facts “neighbor”. Higher taxes means the producers will leave and you and the takers will be stuck here in the Detroit of the West. Hope you like it.

    Comment by LR — 11:12 am August 28, 2011 #

  75. WSB, please delete all my comments.
    I fear retaliation from the police and fire department.
    Thank you.

    Comment by LR — 11:31 am August 28, 2011 #

  76. I live about seven houses away and I’m just furious. The fire was at 102nd and 41st and they were pumping water from 100th and 42nd? Do you know how far away that is? They couldn’t find a workable fire hydrant closer than that? That is ridiculous, I expect more from SPU especially since I pay them an arm and a leg for water.

    …and people, the fire department is trying to work. There is no reason to drive your car up to the fire truck to watch it. If you MUST look at the fire, park several blocks away and walk your lazy butts up there. There were so many cars on our street the fire department couldn’t get through.

    Comment by Michael — 11:34 am August 28, 2011 #

  77. We’ve been cleaning out stuff that was going to the thrift store today. When you do find out where to donate, could you please list clothing sizes and items needed. Most of what we cleaned out are toys and toddler clothes, but we do have other things, too.

    Comment by dameDonna — 11:36 am August 28, 2011 #

  78. LR, you do know that a firefighter was burned protecting the house next door. The hydrant situation up there is easy to fix, just replace all of the water lines up there with a larger size. That will cost you though. It’s amazing to me that a fire with close exposures on both sides with no hydrant pressure they were able to save 2 homes. Good work to all involved.
    PS- I recently saw a coyote in the area
    Connection?

    Comment by AJ — 11:44 am August 28, 2011 #

  79. @ LR… My father was a Seattle Fire Fighter in the 1940′s,1950′s and 1960′s. He had to work 3 other jobs to support our family in those days. I’m glad that todays fire fighters don’t have to worry how they are going to support their families anymore. I wish you had read all the posts here so you could have been a little more informed before you made your comment. Thanks SFD for your hard work!

    Comment by blf — 11:48 am August 28, 2011 #

  80. SFD has ruled the fire accidental, caused by a “fire pit” in the garage. More here, and I will publish a separate story momentarily:
    http://fireline.seattle.gov/2011/08/28/two-alarm-arbor-heights-fire-ruled-accidental/

    Comment by WSB — 12:17 pm August 28, 2011 #

  81. Hey Neighbor, When you see money spent on spray parks and skate parks and new feild turf before the basic needs like emergencey services makes you wonder how they come up with thier priorities. Emergencey services should never be on a levey of any kind. This is what our property taxes are for. Take care of the bacis, when thats done and theres money left over you can spend it on the fun stuff. We whatch our water rates going up on a regular bases and no up grads. What gives?

    Comment by foy boy — 12:28 pm August 28, 2011 #

  82. Nicely said, “Neighbor” and “AJ”… I don’t blame the fire department at all… They did exactly what they were supposed to do in the situation they were stuck in. They kept going til they found one that worked… It is BEYOND Unfortunate that it had to be done, the hydrants should have been maintaned and working…. and AJ.. I’m sure the Coyote had something to do with it ;) tricky pups…

    Comment by S — 2:04 pm August 28, 2011 #

  83. Lots of questions to be asked and answered. I’d love to hear from an attorney on this blog to see if there is a possible case in this matter. Although I don’t own a home, it affects every homeowner.

    Comment by Jiggers — 2:08 pm August 28, 2011 #

  84. wonder how long the homeowners where gone? i mean why would the fire pit out of nowhere explode? especially if out of town camping?…any update if family back etc, and how pets are?

    Comment by ca — 2:17 pm August 28, 2011 #

  85. Here are some photos from the night of the fire and the following day.
    Peace~
    http://photobucket.com/FIREARBORHEIGHTS

    Comment by Jeff — 2:52 pm August 28, 2011 #

  86. AJ, what about all the money we have been paying to supposedly have water already for this? How many years have all the families of Arbor Heights been living in danger without water? What if there had been a loss of life because of this?

    Comment by smokeycretin9 — 3:42 pm August 28, 2011 #

  87. Please Please if you are tempted to drive by and see this tragic scene DON’T. This family is devastaded. They have lost everything everything. They don’t need people coming by and starring and in one incident getting into an arguement with my 20 year old granddaughter who grew up in that house. I can’t believe people.

    Comment by Barbara Schrader — 3:49 pm August 28, 2011 #

  88. Just a couple of quick facts to clear a couple of things up. LR, you have nothing to fear from the SFD. We understand your frustration, but I would appreciate a fair shot-the 5 firehouses in West Seattle respond to about 30 calls a day of all sorts and I like to think that we handle most of them fairly skillfully and with an average response time under 4 1/2 minutes. We don’t discriminate on whether you live in Arbor Heights or Fauntleroy or the Junction-you get quality service from a group of by and large dedicated professionals.

    In this instance, those professionals overcame numerous obstacles to do the best they could to save life and property. No one stood around and watched, they the best they could with the very limited resources available. The rehab area south of the scene was populated by the firefighters that absorbed enormous heat in the initial stages of the fire when they were getting as close as they could to do as much as they could with the little they had. The firefighters involved can do many things, but they can’t make water.

    SPU may be responsible for the hydrants and the SFD for the testing, but your tax dollars are allocated by the city council. We would love to see standard hydrants on 8″ mains everywhere, but that is not as important to the city council as other more high visibility projects. In the last year there have been at least three fires in W Seattle where water pressure caused problems, but as yet no movement to improve your water service.

    As a side note, the dogs were not saved by the neighbors, they were saved by Ladder 13 “Rat City Rescue” while they were conducting their search of the ground floor of the building. If you have any questions, let me know-they passed me on their way out. The injured FF is doing OK with partial thickness burns of his face and ear but will recover to return to work soon. The two closest in engine companies were working a resuscitation of a 2 year old that was strangled in a window blind cord. I do not know the outcome of that call. Understand that emergencies overlap and sometimes you have the perfect storm, which was the case here-units out of position, large body of fire on arrival, and significant water issues.

    Comment by Dad o'4 — 5:48 pm August 28, 2011 #

  89. I was so scared for our neighbors, any pets in the home, and our neighborhood. I was scared for the firefighters who, although well-trained and amazing, are human beings and not impervious to the power of a raging blaze. And then, in the midst of all this tragedy and loss, we had people insisting they drive into the thick of the emergency area and then refuse to take directions to turn back and let the crews get their rigs in to do their work. In fact, as I tried to redirect traffic,(no squad car was on the scene yet to reroute traffic) one jerk in a red 4X4, pulled over and parked two doors down from our home– you know, watching the “action” while someone else’s home was eradicated– and actually had the calloused audacity to respond “Oh, it’s just a fire.” Really? Well, next time it could be yours, so in the meantime: shame on you. Let the firefighters work,and have a little empathy people– it could have been any one of us who lost their home yesterday. Or tomorrow.

    Comment by HoppyHopkins — 8:27 pm August 28, 2011 #

  90. Hey LR! Get up off your cakes and come do a ride-along. Find out what your fire department really does. Do you honestly think the fire department was late because they were playing ping pong?! Your statistical data research seems a bit off as well. Even the Fireboat gets at least 2 runs a week. No land based engine averages less than one run per day. Dont use the hard working men and women of the Seattle Fire Department to do your political whining.

    michael.daigle@seattle.gov for a ride along.

    Comment by Michael Daigle — 10:17 pm August 28, 2011 #

  91. So a few things, the fire pit hasn’t been used in like two years, there was no old logs or anything of that sort in it. We do not know how this happened. And everyone, please please please give us all time. This is hard there were so many memories in that house. We have lost everything and we know everyone wants to come see it but you don’t have to take pictures go by look and leave. That was are home that we lost. We found the missing cat today and she is fine. The turtles will be missed so much. Thank you to everyone who is helping it means so much to all of us.

    Comment by Family — 11:11 pm August 28, 2011 #

  92. We have just published an update with information on how to help:
    http://westseattleblog.com/2011/08/arbor-heights-fire-how-to-help-family-who-lost-everything
    .
    TR

    Comment by WSB — 11:17 pm August 28, 2011 #

  93. LR, save the ignorant political rant for the appropriate forum (which this ain’t).

    Comment by basteroid — 11:16 am August 29, 2011 #

  94. There are 2 issues with these fire hydrants. The pressure is lower than most places, approx 80 psi. But the larger issue is that the water lines on all streets with the exeption of sw 100 St and 39 ave sw which are 8″ water mains happen to be 4″ water mains. The result is the majority of the hydrants in arbor heights are only able to supply a single fire hose of our smallest size at it’s lowest setting. The solution as said before is simple but costly. Replace all 4″ water lines with at least 6″ lines. 8″. Would be better because low pressure is also a problem in the area. The ff who work in the area are aware of the problems with water there but they are not always going to be the people responding. E 32 arrived at a fire that required 1000+ gallons per minute of water, and almost every hydrant in the area is only capable of supplying 150 gallons per minute, barely.

    Comment by AJ — 10:53 am August 31, 2011 #

  95. We used to live only a block away from them. It’s terrible that they lost the house. And I’m so glad to know no one was hurt. I’m also very glad that the pets were rescued too! Fantastic neighbors over there in Arbor Heights. Kudos!

    Comment by KS — 2:24 pm August 31, 2011 #

  96. I want to extend a special thanks to everyone (neighbors in the Arbor Heights community, friends, Red Cross, Arbor Heights Community Church and the firemen) for their help, thoughts, prayers and efforts to assist our family who lost everything in this fire. In sifting through the charred, soaked rubble we did find some old family photos that have the potential of being saved…this was very heartwarming to us.

    The cause of the fire was due to faulting wiring in the garage ceiling. The house is a total loss, but I’m glad to see that this whole situation has spurred on the community to come together to address safety concerns for their area. Again, thank you.

    Comment by Family Member — 1:42 pm September 1, 2011 #

  97. Family Member, if someone has told you that the fire was caused by wiring, you might want to press the point with the Fire Department. I told them about this comment and asked if something had changed in the investigation’s findings. Spokesperson Kyle Moore said no, he just checked both with the SFD investigator and with the Captain of the unit, and the official cause on record remains what they announced the day after the fire, “”caused by a portable fire pit in the home’s garage. Investigators say either old charcoal or wood in the fire pit spontaneously combusted and ignited nearby items stored inside an attached garage.” I hope you all are doing OK and that you will let us know if there is anything else the community can help with, I will be checking in with AH Church again next week … TR

    Comment by WSB — 12:58 pm September 2, 2011 #

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