(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.