Update: International District fire, with smoke visible from here

December 24, 2013 at 4:42 pm | In Not WS but we're mentioning it anyway, West Seattle news | 8 Comments

4:42 PM: Just got a call from someone asking about the smoke visible from Harbor Avenue, looking across the bay. There’s a big fire in the International District; the address on the SFD 911 log is 669 S. King Street. Here’s one of the photos SFD has tweeted:

Here’s what our friends at KING 5 are reporting.

6:29 PM UPDATE: Our partners at The Seattle Times quote SFD as pointing out that this building has a notorious past – as the site of the Wah Mee massacre 30 years ago.

8:39 PM UPDATE: Updated the Times link in the preceding paragraph – they now have a longer story elsewhere on their site. Also of note, West Seattle fire crews are assisting, per radio communication and the online 911 log, including Ladder 11, whose crew we had photographed earlier today assisting police on Genesee Hill, as well as Engine 11 from Highland Park and Engine 32 from The Junction.

WEDNESDAY MORNING NOTE: SFD published an update overnight; the fire wasn’t under control until almost 10:30 pm.


  1. Apparently there are no injuries, so far, and of course that’s the main thing, and I hope it stays that way.


    But, looking the address up on Parcel Viewer, the building was built in 1909. So sad that this will, it’s probably safe to say, a total loss of the structure.



    Comment by miws — 5:14 pm December 24, 2013 #

  2. Oops, the “Here’s what our friends at KING 5 are reporting.” link goes to a lovely Happy Holidays photo of West Seattle :)

    Comment by Maggie — 5:54 pm December 24, 2013 #

  3. Sorry, that was the next story. It’s what I was working on when I found out about the fire because of the phone call mentioned above, and I didn’t check my work before we rushed out to something from which we have now returned. Glad nobody was hurt; I was working in TV the night of the deadly Pang warehouse fire and every big fire brings back those memories.

    Comment by WSB — 6:22 pm December 24, 2013 #

  4. the building on fire is the location of the Wah Mee Massacre in 1983…had been declared unusable, dangerous to be in.. After reading about squatters in Genesee School, I wonder if this was the same…

    Comment by JanS — 6:33 pm December 24, 2013 #

  5. Jan – I just added that to the story a couple minutes ago, including a HistoryLink link for anyone who doesn’t know the history. Sorry to be so slow but we went out for a bit.

    Comment by WSB — 6:35 pm December 24, 2013 #

  6. Wow, I didn’t recognize that as the Wah Mee Building. Kinda eerie, in a way, that it would be destroyed by fire all these years later…



    Comment by miws — 9:44 pm December 24, 2013 #

  7. Last night I was on Wiki looking up the history. At the bottom someone had added that the building was destroyed on 12/24/13. The building was still on fire at that time. Then bouncing between sites I went back to Wiki and that comment was gone. Ghost posting! This morning it is still gone. Another odd Wha Mee piece of the story.

    Comment by batgurrl — 9:14 am December 25, 2013 #

  8. Wow, that’s creepy about the wiki.

    Comment by LyndaB — 12:36 pm December 25, 2013 #

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