Update: Fire crews back at twice-burned house in 10000 block of 39th SW

May 7, 2014 at 11:40 am | In Arbor Heights, West Seattle fires, West Seattle news | 15 Comments

11:40 AM: A sizable Seattle Fire response has headed back to the 10000 block of 39th SW, scene of two fires at one house in a little more than a week. (update) First crew on scene says “no fire, just smoke” – so they’re putting water on it.

11:52 AM: Our crew on scene says the smoke is mostly coming from the back of the house (added, photo showing new fencing in back):

No flames seen so far, as noted previously.

12:09 PM: For reference – the first fire was on April 29th; second one, early Monday morning. The cause of the first one has yet to be determined; one of the home’s two residents, both said to be in their 70s, was still in the hospital at last report.

4:42 PM: As AG notes in comments, SFD announced this afternoon that overheated wiring caused the original fire on April 29th and that “residual embers” were to blame for the flareups today and two days ago.


  1. Hmmm. No fire, just smoke? So it was still smoldering after the second go-round? Wow. Is this common?

    Comment by alkiobserver — 11:59 am May 7, 2014 #

  2. what is going on with this house? are maybe homeless people in there trying to cook/keep warm? was it still smoldering? strange story. How are home owners?

    Comment by ca — 12:11 pm May 7, 2014 #

  3. Come on SFD get it right!!!!! Put out the fire right so you don’t waste tax dollars by returning to the fire again and again.

    Alkiobserver : No this is NOT common

    Comment by The Boss — 2:21 pm May 7, 2014 #

  4. Maybe it’s just a persistent fire, but it’s sure starting to sound suspicious/spooky. Someone or something doesn’t want that house to stay standing.

    Comment by Ay — 2:22 pm May 7, 2014 #

  5. We had a fire in a hedge started by someone’s tossed cigarette. The fire fighters had a “camera” that could tell if there was still enough heat that could ignite the hedge again.
    Maybe you can’t use it on a structure.

    Comment by sc — 2:43 pm May 7, 2014 #

  6. This is not an official ruling or opinion. However, my co-publisher has now been to that scene about half a dozen times in the course of these three incidents and notes that there seems to be much accumulated stuff there. Don’t know how far the visibility of a heat detector device can go if there is a dense amount of stuff. I have a question out to SFD – a couple, actually – about the circumstances, the unusualness, and a few other things, will update when we hear back …

    Comment by WSB — 2:49 pm May 7, 2014 #

  7. SFD Tweeted at 2pm 5/7/14 that overheated wiring is the cause, and that smouldering embers caused both flareups and have now been put out.

    Comment by AG — 2:54 pm May 7, 2014 #

  8. Thanks for the great coverage and follow up WSB. Huge props and thanks to SFD for the work they do. That is one tough job. This has got to frustrating for them. I am curious though what the SFD will do this time that they didn’t do before. They seemed to take the exact same approach a second time and it started to smoke a third time.

    Comment by alkiobserver — 3:53 pm May 7, 2014 #

  9. public safety hazard so empty the contents.

    Comment by empty the contents — 4:09 pm May 7, 2014 #

  10. The firefighters worked hard to keep the fire away from our new home.They did an excellent job and I can’t thank them enough for reassuring my girls and I that our home would be saved. It was unnerving going to sleep last night because we didn’t know if we’d have to escape again after the second fire erupted. It was a reality check of how quickly a fire can spread and do so much damage.please pray for our neighbors who have been burned and in shock through this ordeal.

    Comment by Alki resident — 4:45 pm May 7, 2014 #

  11. The couple that live in the house in their mid 70′s maybe they had a lot of stuff, like my elderly father he wasn’t a hoarder…cough,cough…OK yeah he was, so maybe these peeps are too so that means things can be smoldering and no one can tell and once it gets going it’s in flames again so the comment by “the boss” give the SFD a break sounds like they did a great job!

    Sounds like they need to get a bulldozer there and get all the smoldering dug up and out of there.

    Comment by payrollgirl — 5:44 pm May 7, 2014 #

  12. Overheating wiring may have been an initial cause, but power has been cut for many days at this point. Not a factor in flare ups.

    Comment by Jeff — 7:09 pm May 7, 2014 #

  13. Yes, the flareups were described as embers, as in smoldering since original fires.

    Comment by WSB — 7:11 pm May 7, 2014 #

  14. Payrollgirl is right. All the debris can insulate embers keeping them hot and letting it get hotter perhaps through self-heating. Once it’s hot enough exposure to air will cause it to flame. Dig it up. Spread it out. Then it’ll be extinguished.

    Comment by Marko — 9:47 pm May 7, 2014 #

  15. @ the boss. How is this costing you extra tax dollars?

    Comment by rdm — 1:46 pm May 8, 2014 #

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