Update: Woman found dead in burning apartment in 7500 block of 24th SW; police join investigation

April 15, 2014 at 4:34 am | In West Seattle fires, West Seattle news, WS breaking news | 18 Comments

(SCROLL DOWN for updates, including police joining investigation)

(Photos, video by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
FIRST REPORT, 4:34 AM: Big Seattle Fire response for an apartment fire in the 7500 block of 24th SW (map), just south of the Southwest Precinct/Home Depot area.

4:40 AM UPDATE: At least one person is reported to be hurt, and crews are calling for more medics.

4:47 AM UPDATE: It’s not a big fire – but especially for a multifamily building, it’s SOP to send a sizable response just in case. Per scanner, it’s tapped/under control. Our crew should be on scene shortly.

5:02 AM UPDATE: Our crew says the fire was in a top-floor apartment. Working to find out more about the person found, injured, in that apartment. (added) SFD spokesperson Kyle Moore will be briefing media at the scene shortly.

5:25 AM UPDATE: There’s a reason we hadn’t heard a condition for the person described as a “victim” – Moore says that person found in the burning apartment was dead. That’s the only apartment damaged by fire, but others were affected by smoke, and the Red Cross has been called in to help one person.

5:48 AM UPDATE: Moore describes the person found dead in the burning bedroom as an adult woman. As you’ll hear in the video of Moore’s briefing (above), SFD’s investigator is working to find out how and exactly where the fire started. The apartment had a sprinkler, Moore said, but it was in the hallway, not the bedroom. It will be up to the Medical Examiner to determine how the woman died – whether from the fire, or something else.

8:55 AM UPDATE: Police are now at the scene – including CSI investigators – and yellow crime-scene tape is up.

Seattle Police spokesperson Det. RenĂ©e Witt says SFD investigators asked SPD to check out the scene “out of an abundance of caution” just to make sure they weren’t missing anything.

So far, she says she doesn’t know what they have or have not found, but there has not yet been any ruling whether this was or wasn’t a homicide, and the cause of death has not yet been determined by the Medical Examiner.

4:33 PM UPDATE: We’ve been checking, but still no updated information from investigators in either department.

7:15 PM UPDATE: We’ve talked to SW Precinct Ops. Lt. Ron Smith at the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council. He says ATF went to the scene today as well but that there is still no official finding about whether this was a crime or not, but it is certainly “suspicious.”

18 Comments

  1. King5 is reporting it as 1 fatality.

    Comment by kjb — 5:54 am April 15, 2014 #

  2. Yes, that’s been in our story for half an hour, thanks. Will have video of Moore’s briefing added to the story as soon as the upload finishes.

    Comment by WSB — 5:56 am April 15, 2014 #

  3. How terrible. We live one block away at the Westhaven apartments. the entire block at 24th and holden was blocked off this morning by emergency vehicles

    Comment by pat carr — 8:19 am April 15, 2014 #

  4. Seems a little odd a smoke alarm didn’t allow her to escape. make you wonder if she was killed and someone started the fire. This happens all too often and was my first thought. Smoke alarms are very piercing to the ears.

    Comment by alki resident — 8:56 am April 15, 2014 #

  5. AR, since there are many possibilities, that is why you will note we didn’t just write that the fire was to blame for her death. And in fact, police are on scene investigating now; I have just added an update that SPD was asked to come in and evaluate the scene “out of an abundance of caution.” We’re adding a photo shortly too. Again, this does not mean it’s been determined to be a crime, but they’re evaluating closely for that possibility … Tracy

    Comment by WSB — 8:59 am April 15, 2014 #

  6. Just getting home for the day, I hope it was purely an accidental fire and death. If not I hope they find who did this, how horrible either way.

    Comment by alki resident — 5:47 pm April 15, 2014 #

  7. I’m at the Crime Prevention Council and there’s no new official info yet.

    Comment by WSB — 7:02 pm April 15, 2014 #

  8. Awful.

    Comment by heather — 10:52 pm April 15, 2014 #

  9. I live a block away and woke up around 10:30pm to what i thought was screams of kids playing around, but now i wonder if there is a connection. Who should I contact about this?

    Comment by W. sea resident — 8:17 am April 16, 2014 #

  10. WSR – Even though it hasn’t been officially ruled a homicide that we know of, I am sure you could start with the SPD Homicide Tip Line.
    .
    (206) 233-5000
    .
    I don’t know if a live human answers it or it’s a recording. Please post again if you have any trouble reaching it or leaving information on it and we will find somebody else to refer you to. – Tracy

    Comment by WSB — 8:33 am April 16, 2014 #

  11. Thanks Tracy, it was a human who answered and directed me to the right person.

    Comment by W. Sea resident — 5:46 pm April 16, 2014 #

  12. Did they ever determine the cause of the fire and the cause of death? So tragic! My heart goes out to the family and friends of the woman who passed away.

    Comment by Alki — 8:27 am April 18, 2014 #

  13. Not yet released by the Medical Examiner, whose next update will be this afternoon, and we are checking daily …

    Comment by WSB — 8:34 am April 18, 2014 #

  14. Ok thank you!

    Comment by Alki — 8:41 am April 18, 2014 #

  15. Hi any updates on the results from medical examiner?

    Comment by High Point — 3:40 pm April 21, 2014 #

  16. There has been so little in the news about this. Has more information been released?

    Comment by Jenn — 8:48 am April 25, 2014 #

  17. Jenn – I mentioned it in our story from the Block Watch Captains Network. http://westseattleblog.com/2014/04/west-seattle-block-watch-captains-network-summer-plans-incident-updates-spds-online-expert/ Capt. Wilske (precinct commander) says there is no evidence it was anything other than an accident. However, I still need to check with SFD (which I will do right now) to find out what the fire’s cause turned out to be.

    Comment by WSB — 9:00 am April 25, 2014 #

  18. I know this person she was my cousin,god rest her soul she was dead before the fire started but she had been very sick,thank for the comments.I’m working had to get the money to take care of her final funeral expense’s

    Comment by Terryl — 3:49 pm April 25, 2014 #

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