Video: Second fire in one week at Arbor Heights house

May 5, 2014 at 5:22 am | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle fires, West Seattle news | 15 Comments

5:22 AM: Fire crews are back at the house in the 10000 block of 39th SW in Arbor Heights (map) that caught fire last Tuesday.

5:34 AM: The fire is reported to be under control, per scanner traffic. Just added video from neighbor John (who also called to tip us about the fire – thank you). The cause of last week’s fire had yet to be determined, as of our most recent check with SFD last Friday.

5:53 AM: Added that photo from our crew on scene. SFD says no injuries, since house was vacant.

6:03 AM: Metro says the northbound Route 21-EX is rerouting off SW 100th because of this, between 37th SW and 40th SW – use stops “east of 37th or west of 40th,” per text. Meantime, SFD spokesperson Lt. Sue Stangl has just provided an on-scene media briefing. She confirms that they still hadn’t finished investigating last week’s fire – one of the home’s two residents is still in the hospital. A crew will stay on scene here through the day on “fire watch” (as had been done last week).

6:44 AM: The bus reroute is over. Most fire vehicles have been dismissed from the scene. (Added: Our video of Lt. Stangl’s briefing, in which she discusses the possibility it “rekindled.”)


  1. Could this be the source of the burning smell I detect at 35th and Webster??

    Comment by Martha — 5:35 am May 5, 2014 #

  2. Is everybody ok?

    Comment by Mayra — 5:43 am May 5, 2014 #

  3. Yes. No one was in the house, since last week’s fire left it uninhabitable.

    Comment by WSB — 6:05 am May 5, 2014 #

  4. How scary. Especially after all the rain we have the past few days! I saw a police car parked in front of the house a couple days after the first fire talking to neighbors. Wonder if there has been problems with people trying to get in the house as none of the windows had been boarded up or anything.

    Comment by Lisa — 6:32 am May 5, 2014 #

  5. But why is it on fire again? Embers left from last week or new ignition? Arson? This is troubling.

    Comment by but why? — 6:41 am May 5, 2014 #

  6. Basement ra was smouldering all this time, it wasn’t arson.They will be knocking house down soon,its structure is no longer safe.

    Comment by Alki resident — 8:16 am May 5, 2014 #

  7. That’s a little troubling. I hope they determine the cause of the fires soon.

    Comment by wsBorn&Bred — 8:17 am May 5, 2014 #

  8. Yikes. Hope there wasn’t natural gas involved or anything. I saw the recent reports that PSE is inspecting for gas lines installed through sewer lines, a friend recently got a postcard about their rental duplex being inspected for that. I lived in Northgate when the gas line exploded a house up there a few years ago. Scary stuff!

    Comment by trickycoolj — 10:56 am May 5, 2014 #

  9. I could smell it. A very strong soot smell and i live at 35th and Thistle

    Comment by judy Ortiz — 1:06 pm May 5, 2014 #

  10. Question for “Alki resident” on your post above –
    I’m surprised the fire dept was able to conclude the investigation on cause of today’s fire so quickly (since, per your comment, they’ve ruled out arson). I’d like to learn more details – can you point to the source for the info in your post? Thanks.

    Comment by Mongo — 2:45 pm May 5, 2014 #

  11. Sam-C – note the statements I have added after receiving responses from SDOT and Mayor Murray’s communications directors – probably after you commented – SDOT notes that it has removed the tweet from its feed. It was still there until about an hour ago – we left the house for a while after I sent my notes requesting comment, and it was still live at that time. … TR

    Comment by WSB — 3:01 pm May 5, 2014 #

  12. if the house is vacant and it has an electric range in the kitchen, I’d suspect a meth cookhouse. It’s not uncommon for vacant homes to be used as such and there are many fires caused by that. If I was a neighbor, I’d be dragging SPD and SFD to investigate more, it could impact your their life and the lives of families near by. Could it be something else, yes, but two fires in the same vacant home makes me think it’s a meth cook house.

    Comment by Mike — 9:16 pm May 5, 2014 #

  13. It was only “vacant” since the last fire, which rendered it uninhabitable. The couple who owned and lived there, in their 70s, were taken to the hospital because of injuries suffered last week and one is still there. The investigation isn’t over (I checked again with SFD this afternoon) and the cause remains undetermined so far.

    Comment by WSB — 9:25 pm May 5, 2014 #

  14. Hopefully the third time will be the charm. Fire crews just rolled up again this morning and starting hosing it down. It was smoking again.

    Comment by alkiobserver — 11:54 am May 7, 2014 #

  15. We have a separate story up already atop the home page – thanks. We were outside our house when the battalion chief raced around the corner headed toward AH …

    Comment by WSB — 11:56 am May 7, 2014 #

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