Video: House destroyed by fire in Arbor Heights; 2 people hurt

April 29, 2014 at 7:49 pm | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle fires, West Seattle news | 53 Comments

(WED. AM UPDATE: Fire guts Arbor Heights home, 2 residents hurt, cause not yet known, scroll to see new photo)

(Photo courtesy Tim Eannarino)
FIRST REPORT, 7:49 PM: Fire crews have rushed to the 10000 block of 39th SW for a house-fire call. More as we get it.

(Photo by Tony Bradley)
7:54 PM: The callout keeps getting bigger. Smoke visible for a ways around.

(WSB photo by Patrick Sand, substituted for earlier cameraphone pic)
Scanner traffic says the fire started in the basement and that there is a vehicle on fire at the site.

(Photo courtesy Christi Stapleton)
7:58 PM: Our crew just arrived on scene. Paramedics are treating one person. Black smoke continues pouring from the home. Flames are visible too.

(Added: WSB video, including the moment when fire broke through the roof)
It’s being described on the scanner as a “defensive” firefight.

(WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli)
8:11 PM: The fire continues to intensify. Neighbors are tweeting – thanks to Colby for this photo:

8:20 PM: Two neighboring homes are at risk, according to SFD via Twitter, also confirming that two people are being treated by medics at the scene.

(Photo by Kevin McClintic)
The fire is “tapped,” our crew at the scene reports, which is one milestone toward getting it under control. The SFD public-info officer is there so we and other media will be able to get comprehensive info in addition to what we’re seeing and hearing firsthand.

(Photo courtesy Christi Stapleton)
8:29 PM UPDATE: We just talked with SFD spokesperson Kyle Moore, who says water pressure was NOT a problem, but Seattle Public Utilities did increase the pressure to help with the firefight (we heard that mentioned on the scanner, too). [Added - editor's note: Those questions stem from a problem with hydrants in Arbor Heights that hampered the fight against a big house fire in 2011. There have since been major upgrades.) He says the two people are still being treated. No idea yet how this started. Moore also says two neighboring homes were evacuated because of danger the fire might spread, and everybody got out OK.

(This photo and next one by Tony Bradley)
8:47 PM: Continuing to add photos – thanks to everyone who has shared theirs – and will be adding ours too as the crew processes them back at base, including video of Moore’s briefing.

9 PM: Sounds like firefighters will be able to go inside. (added) Neighbor Christi says crews are trying to make sure it’s safe for neighbors to go back into their undamaged homes.

9:23 PM: Added – video of Moore’s briefing, including more details on the two people who were inside the house and were being treated for burns/smoke inhalation. We also added, higher up in the story, video showing the flames erupting through the roof following the dark smoke that could at one point be seen from some distance away.

9:50 PM: Earlier we had mentioned a vehicle – above, a photo by WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli. We’re going back over to check on where things stand now. SFD’s Moore tweeted a few minutes ago that the man and woman who were hurt are in their 70s; both suffered smoke inhalation; both were taken to Harborview Medical Center in stable condition; the man also suffered burns. The house was ruled a total loss; the fire’s cause is still under investigation.

10:36 PM: Firefighters are still on scene; light smoke is still rising from the house. They tell us it’s not safe for the investigator to go in yet, so what caused the fire likely won’t be known any sooner than tomorrow. Since both residents of the house were taken to the hospital, there’s no Red Cross or other relief agency on scene.

1:10 AM: Another photo from neighbor Christi – Engine 30, on fire watch. With major fires like this, there’s usually an engine on scene (they rotate) for many hours afterward, just in case of a flareup.

10:12 AM WEDNESDAY: Still no word of the cause but firefighters remain at the scene; the house is still smoldering, and they have been continuing to work to ventilate it:

When there is word of the cause, we’ll publish a new story.

53 Comments

  1. I can see a lot of smoke from 35th and Holden

    Comment by Powerfactor — 7:51 pm April 29, 2014 #

  2. Must be huge. Going over WSB and they had the heavy rescue truck flying by. Hoping nobody is hurt.

    Comment by LyndaB — 7:53 pm April 29, 2014 #

  3. Single story basement fire. Scanner says two patients being treated.

    Comment by Watchdog — 7:54 pm April 29, 2014 #

  4. fully involved, defensive fire
    2 patients

    Comment by anon — 7:55 pm April 29, 2014 #

  5. Just turned on my computer to open up WSB to see what the heck was going on. We live on 35th at 98th and a huge amount of trucks just went by. Thanks once again for always providing answers to what I see/hear in my hood!

    Comment by Lina — 7:56 pm April 29, 2014 #

  6. Quite the response, I hope no one is hurt!

    Comment by Michael B — 7:59 pm April 29, 2014 #

  7. Praying for the homeowners.

    Comment by AMH — 8:11 pm April 29, 2014 #

  8. Smoke is getting thick down on the 10000 block of 47th ave SW.

    Comment by David Vey — 8:12 pm April 29, 2014 #

  9. Is this on a street that still has the unimproved, lower flow hydrants?

    Comment by aa — 8:13 pm April 29, 2014 #

  10. Can you provide any more specificity about where exactly this is??

    Comment by AH Resident on business trip — 8:14 pm April 29, 2014 #

  11. Oh, dear: close to home: very upsetting. We had driven by < an hour ago, on our way to dinner. Hope everyone is OK…

    Comment by MMB — 8:14 pm April 29, 2014 #

  12. Do you have an actual address, I have friends on that block? Thanks TR.

    Comment by Ross Howsmon — 8:15 pm April 29, 2014 #

  13. I’ve counted 3 ambulances and 3 fire trucks so far that passed by my house on Roxbury, alone! I really hope that everyone is ok, and out of the houses!

    Comment by Mjb — 8:17 pm April 29, 2014 #

  14. The scanner has it at 10033 39th SW.

    Comment by batgurrl — 8:23 pm April 29, 2014 #

  15. I’m updating as I can. I don[t know that the address on the fire log is the EXACT address, they are sometimes wrong and post the address from which the call came. Two people are being treated. Adding info as we get it. They’re putting water on the fire, which is now “tapped” – which isn’t quite “under control” but getting there. Don’t know about the hydrants, it’s been a few years but I’ll look that up. The city had said ALL areas were within acceptable fire pressure once they finished that project. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 8:24 pm April 29, 2014 #

  16. The firehoses looked totally operational, from this amateur’s POV. But yes, around here, you wonder.

    Comment by mmb — 8:25 pm April 29, 2014 #

  17. Hate to say we still live across the street from a red ring marked low flow hydrant. Not perfect still but they did get a lot of them fixed. R

    Comment by batgurrl — 8:26 pm April 29, 2014 #

  18. Fire was on 39th between 100th & 102nd. Closer to 102nd

    Comment by Aileen — 8:26 pm April 29, 2014 #

  19. 10037 39th Ave sw is the location.

    Comment by AH neighbor — 8:27 pm April 29, 2014 #

  20. It’s on the west side of 39th approximately 7 houses south of 100th.
    So sad. Praying for the homeowners.

    Comment by Omg — 8:30 pm April 29, 2014 #

  21. Per 911. 10033

    Comment by Bonnie — 8:31 pm April 29, 2014 #

  22. 10037 39th Ave SW

    Comment by Aileen — 8:32 pm April 29, 2014 #

  23. I can no longer see smoke from 42nd so must be somewhat under control now.

    Comment by JEM — 8:33 pm April 29, 2014 #

  24. Thanks Aileen! Was able to figure out which house it is using Google maps, of all crazy things – glad it’s not my house(!) and hope everyone is ok. What a huge fire!

    Comment by AH Resident on business trip — 8:36 pm April 29, 2014 #

  25. Very sad. It was about 3 blocks from my house.

    Comment by Darren — 8:36 pm April 29, 2014 #

  26. We drove down 40th on the way home maybe 20 minutes ago. The amount of smoke was incredible.

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 8:37 pm April 29, 2014 #

  27. We are also across the street from one of the marked low pressure hydrants. I wasn’t sure how many were left in the neighborhood.

    Comment by aa — 8:39 pm April 29, 2014 #

  28. Address at http://www2.seattle.gov/fire/realTime911/getRecsForDatePub.asp?action=Today&incDate=&rad1=des

    Comment by Baf — 8:39 pm April 29, 2014 #

  29. Again a caveat – this happened one of the last two or three major fires – the original address on 911 log is NOT necessarily the house that is on fire. Sometimes the dispatchers wind up with the house the caller called from, or the house the caller thinks it is. Eventually it is corrected but sometimes hours. So that’s why we just use the block number.

    Comment by WSB — 8:41 pm April 29, 2014 #

  30. Praying that everyone is okay!

    Comment by Lucky 5 Gas Station — 8:47 pm April 29, 2014 #

  31. Happened a block from my house.

    Comment by Rachael — 8:57 pm April 29, 2014 #

  32. My husband and another man pulled the husband from the house. Thank God they are safe, so so awful!

    Comment by Ashley — 8:57 pm April 29, 2014 #

  33. I was just around the corner. I heard a couple of pops and then my sis say “Oh F!” Flames at 30 feet by the time I looked. Ran to the back of the house to find some people trying to protect a neighbors home , with a garden hose. 50 feet away and the heat was extremely intense! Talked them away from the area. Massive flames at back of house. Laurel hedge didn’t hurt the fire any. Most intense house fire I’ve ever seen. Saw the home owners out front. They were visibly shaken. I felt really bad for them. Felt worse when all the looky Loos showed up and SFD had to go to a defensive position. Going to to talk to the company I work for tomorrow about donations/help. At least everyone seems to be ok.

    Comment by JerrBeat — 9:01 pm April 29, 2014 #

  34. I live nearby and witnessed the 2011 fire too. The hydrants tonight appeared to work well. We’ve had new hydrants installed up and down 102nd street and they used one of those tonight, along with a couple of older ones. Water was flying high on all sides of the fire.

    Comment by Lynne — 9:02 pm April 29, 2014 #

  35. water was NOT a problem. the hydrant is in my driveway and that baby worked just fine. the fire firefighters were fabulous. we have a neighbor in a wheelchair and the fire team is being very careful to make sure that the air quality in the homes is safe for people to return.

    Comment by christi s — 9:04 pm April 29, 2014 #

  36. Ashley, kudos to your husband and the other hero, hope they did not get hurt too?

    Comment by WSB — 9:05 pm April 29, 2014 #

  37. we live across the street. fire trucks still here. trying to get all the evacuated home clear of fumes with the “sniffer box” so people can go back into their homes.

    Comment by christi s — 9:09 pm April 29, 2014 #

  38. Thanks, Christi, and thanks for the photos. Haven’t heard any updates yet on how the injured people are doing but we’ll continue to check.

    Comment by WSB — 9:11 pm April 29, 2014 #

  39. Thank God for our emergency personnel!

    Comment by Findlay — 9:29 pm April 29, 2014 #

  40. Thanks, WSB, for once again being such prompt, thorough and accurate reporters of our local news. Please let us know how we neighbors can help the victims of this fire once it’s determined, if you can.

    Comment by KA — 10:02 pm April 29, 2014 #

  41. No WSB, they were not hurt. As they were getting him out of the house, my husband saw the next door neighbor who was in a wheelchair in his backyard. He quickly ran over and got him away from his house. He was in a very dangerous spot too.

    Comment by Ashley — 10:02 pm April 29, 2014 #

  42. Seattle Fire Department is AMAZING. Not only the on-duty firefighters, but, the handful I know that were off-duty and showed up to help out. Prayers for the couple who are displaced by this fire. Please fill us in on any Red Cross efforts.

    Comment by smgpe — 10:03 pm April 29, 2014 #

  43. Thank you SFD!
    It would be cool if on a story like this we as readers could click a donate button that the WSB provides, then the WSB could divert those funds to the people that suffer a loss like this, or for any story that we read about on the WSB that could impact the people we read about everyday.

    Comment by Rcl — 10:13 pm April 29, 2014 #

  44. PLEASE let us know if there is a way we can help! No general Red Cross charities, but help for these people specifically. I’ve been through fire devastation in my own life that wasn’t even close to this bad, yet it was horrible for me. I can only imagine what they are going through. My heart goes out to them.

    We want to help! I know you will keep us up to date…..

    Comment by fauntleroy fairy — 10:27 pm April 29, 2014 #

  45. We just went back over to see what more we could find out. Since the two residents of the house were both taken to the hospital, that’s why there’s no Red Cross on scene or anything like that – I hope they are being counseled/assisted at the hospital. There’s still light smoke rising from the house; the fire crews on scene told us it’s still not safe for the investigator to go in, so they won’t even have an idea about the cause before tomorrow, most likely. We’ll check back again and I hope the neighbors will also let us know if they hear anything about the residents. (And any relatives who might see this.)
    .
    Re: Rcl’s idea – friends of ours had a startup that was investigating a concept like that, tapping people for help immediately and figuring out later how/where to route it (instead of it taking days to set up a fund, etc.), but the logistics turned out to be a bit too daunting.

    Comment by WSB — 10:34 pm April 29, 2014 #

  46. Ladder truck still here. The ladder struck staff “chopped through the roof” in what they call a “fully involved fire”. Firefighters say that they will leave one truck all night. They’ve turned off the hydrant (good for my wet driveway!) and all neighbors are back in their homes. Larry, the parapalegic neighbor is safely back in his home, which was “singed” on one corner, but no inside damage. Firefighters are very professional. Never seen a fire before, but am impressed by the Fire Department. Funny quote of the day: ME: Do you guys need food or water or anything? Bathrooms? FIREFIGHTER: “Thank you, ma’am, but we’ve got cookies and Ding Dongs! We are good!” Guys is a loose term, because I saw female firefighters and was quite impressed. In a surprising development, the “loss consultants” have arrived and are walking the block trying to get info on who lives where.

    Comment by christi s — 10:36 pm April 29, 2014 #

  47. I’m glad Larry is OK. I met him in the fall when we were both doing rehab at Mt. St. Vincent…he was my dinner companion on many a night..nice guy, for sure…

    hoping for the best for the people who lived in the house…and @Jerrbeat…thank you for starting donations at work. If you can please share with the community here on WSB…it’s a very giving community that would be more than glad to help.

    Comment by JanS — 11:57 pm April 29, 2014 #

  48. correction to above post…met him in the fall of 2012…

    Comment by JanS — 1:20 am April 30, 2014 #

  49. I could smell it in the air in the Genesee Hills area.

    Comment by norskgirl — 6:12 am April 30, 2014 #

  50. Fauntleroy Fairy regarding donations. I totally understand you wanting to help this specific family and I applaud you and hope you can find a way to do that but I wanted to comment on your “No General Red Cross Charities” comment. I have volunteered for years with the Red Cross coming to scenes just like this one to help people on one of the worst nights of their life. We use donated funds to make sure people have somewhere to stay, clothes on their backs and food in their tummies. We help after the fire too. We could only do this because of the donations from people who have given to our general fund. Clients also get follow up help from Red Cross caseworkers. All the good we do is because of generous people like you who want to help and want us to be prepared to help whenever there is any kind of an emergency. So please keep that in mind when you are choosing who to give donations too. You might be helping the next family who has a fire. Thank you.

    Comment by volunteer woman — 7:21 am April 30, 2014 #

  51. I was thinking a lot about how to help last night, and had an idea. What if West Seattle Be Prepared was about more than just major events? As in, we as a Community can donate to WSBP and they would have a storage unit (maybe Olsen Meyers Storage place) that would hold items like clothing, toiletries, etc that have been donated by West Seattleites. I am not saying we shouldn’t donate to the Red Cross, but something even more hyperlocal for immediate, or even possibly long term help? Also, we could have a network of homes that people could stay in until they get a permanent living situation worked out. Just a thought :)

    Comment by AmandaKH — 8:29 am April 30, 2014 #

  52. @volunteerwoman:
    Thank you for coming to the defense of the Red Cross even though I said nothing negative about them. The Red Cross does help people in need, but I still choose not to send my money to an administration heavy charity whose CEO makes over half a million dollars year.

    I want my carefully considered donations to get directly to the people I want to help, and I really hope there will be a way to help these people directly. Thanks for your feedback though….

    Comment by fauntleroy fairy — 11:32 am May 1, 2014 #

  53. Have they said what started the fire yet?

    Comment by HC — 9:24 pm May 1, 2014 #

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