(UPDATED mid-evening with video of SFD briefing, aftermath photo, SPD infolink)
(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
4:01 PM: Firefighters are just arriving at a home in the 7300 block of 16th SW (map), and say they are seeing flames. They’re blocking 16th at the fire scene. More to come.
4:09 PM: Though it’s not confirmed arson, witnesses are reported to have told police/firefighters they saw fireworks thrown toward the house before the fire – the initial description was broadcast as three “Hispanic-looking” teens/young adults, all dressed in different colors of gray, with backpacks. We’ll be asking authorities at the scene about that. Meantime, firefighters continue arriving.
4:18 PM: Added the first photo from our crew at the scene. No flames visible now but lots of smoke. (Added:) Police tape is now up:
4:31 PM: A neighbor tells WSB they heard a loud “bang”-type noise and were calling 911 when they saw the smoke. Meantime, police and firefighters have moved us further back from the scene than usual – not because of the fire, which seems to be mostly out, but because of the investigation. So far, no word of injuries – or arrests. Meantime, per scanner, the descriptions have changed/evolved – so what was mentioned earlier may no longer be accurate; they’re continuing to search (if you see anyone/anything suspicious, please call 911).
4:50 PM: Though the firefighting is wrapping up, 16th SW is still closed in the Webster-Othello vicinity. The incident commander confirms no one was hurt, but damage is extensive; the official investigation into its cause continues. Also note, Route 128 is rerouting as a result of the closure. (Added: Also Route 125.)
6:18 PM: This is now confirmed as an arson investigation, and we’re now told 1 person suffered a burn injury. (Added: Our video of SFD spokesperson Kyle Moore‘s early-evening briefing at the scene:)
6:56 PM: Here’s what SPD Blotter has to say about the investigation.
Also – 16th SW has just reopened, which means bus routes are back to normal.