Video: Police investigating house fire in 7300 block of 16th SW as arson; 1 person hurt

July 31, 2014 at 4:01 pm | In Crime, West Seattle fires, West Seattle news | 30 Comments

(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.


  1. that’s right near the college, and a fairly main street. If “kids” actually did start this, wow, gall, brazen…and frankly…WTF?

    Comment by JanS — 4:28 pm July 31, 2014 #

  2. Bunch of us smelled it and ran around looking for the source. We are 1/2 a mile away. The wind dumped the smoke through open windows as if it were next door.

    Boys in gray: i’ll be Captain obvious here and say what everybody is thinking. Morons.

    Comment by River City — 4:32 pm July 31, 2014 #

  3. & NOW…news choppers. *sigh*
    yet another slow news day in Seattle…
    WAIT… Maybe they’re going to do a story about all the water being flushed into storm drains….

    Comment by 935 — 4:44 pm July 31, 2014 #

  4. 935, actually it isn’t a slow day, regional media has not come over on the ground that we’ve seen because of a deadly hit-run downtown. Our crew just mentioned one TV chopper sighted – because this fire might be a crime, it’s a bit upgraded in newsworthiness IMO. Also police activity is likely visible from the air. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 4:47 pm July 31, 2014 #

  5. The location is almost a mile south of the college on 16th. It’s also 5 or 6 houses away from me.

    Just got home & saw 16th blocked off, I assumed it was an accident as 16th is a speedway & becoming more entertaining with the nightly motorcycle trick of the genius zooming his bike up 16th while STANDING ON THE SEAT! High IQ this one, hoping to get a video as he comes thru around 8:30p almost every night.

    Comment by drahcir61 — 4:55 pm July 31, 2014 #

  6. Is the 125 bus being rerouted in addition to the 128?

    Comment by Jen — 5:04 pm July 31, 2014 #

  7. Metro just sent word of the 125. Sorry, I hope our crew didn’t say 128 when they meant 125 – they both run in the area, or do they? (Checking map …)

    Comment by WSB — 5:06 pm July 31, 2014 #

  8. Yes, they both run on that section of 16th Ave SW.

    Comment by Jen — 5:18 pm July 31, 2014 #

  9. Metro *just* sent text alert for 128. So we were just a bit ahead on that one. Final verdict, 125 and 128 rerouting TFN.

    Comment by WSB — 5:21 pm July 31, 2014 #

  10. Yeah, my e-mail alerts, from Metro, for the two routes were about 15 minutes apart, with the 125 first, then the 128.



    Comment by miws — 6:44 pm July 31, 2014 #

  11. Just went back to regular routes. 16th SW has reopened. Added some more new info.

    Comment by WSB — 6:58 pm July 31, 2014 #

  12. I have a very dear and close friend that lives close to that house with two wonderful kids. I wouldn’t be worried about the bus route, I was worried about innocent lives. She had been worried about that house long before this happened. I am thankful they are all okay. They are truly good people.

    Comment by Jeff — 7:52 pm July 31, 2014 #

  13. I live next door and we heard an extremely loud sound–an explosion. We thought it might have been a gas leak/explosion. We looked outside and could see smoke coming out of the house; we also saw flames on top of the house.

    Comment by intheneighborhood — 7:53 pm July 31, 2014 #

  14. Just read the SPD blotter. Creepy. Just a block away from our street. Thanks for keeping us informed! Here’s hoping SPD will post more details as they unfold.

    Comment by dm — 8:36 pm July 31, 2014 #

  15. Also, we’re still adding a few things – co-publisher Patrick Sand (who was the only media at the scene for a *long* time) went back after we heard SFD spokesperson Kyle Moore was headed there to answer questions, and we’re adding video of his full briefing. Also a closer photo from afterward. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 8:43 pm July 31, 2014 #

  16. drahcir61 _ I’ve seen that guy too, riding his motorcycle while standing up on the seat, front wheel up in the air. crazy stupid.
    and crazy stupid people who would set a house on fire, too

    Comment by sam-c — 8:56 pm July 31, 2014 #

  17. Sorry, I have to say, I live in the neighborbood, but these people have had the SWAT team there twice.

    Comment by lovewestseattle — 9:15 pm July 31, 2014 #

  18. Arson is damn scary stuff, people.

    Comment by G — 10:34 pm July 31, 2014 #

  19. Not sure where I should offer up this info, or if it is even helpful but about a week ago a few young men came down our block going door to door to tell us that they would be doing some “roofing” down the street, so if we hear any loud noises we shouldn’t be alarmed. It seemed really odd that they would go out of their way to tell us this and they didn’t really look like roofers. I live within a block’s vicinity of the fire and incident…

    Comment by Neighbor — 10:35 pm July 31, 2014 #

  20. @sam-c – 6:30p saw a guy zooming 16th tonight until he saw the road block ahead, black bike/black helmet, grey tshirt, he detoured up SW Orchard hill to avoid the jam & did the SAME TRICK … hands in the air, standing on the seat … going up a VERY steep Orchard street (IQ estimate is <90).
    I almost felt compelled to toss a few dollars on the street to help with his future ER bills.

    Comment by drahcir61 — 10:57 pm July 31, 2014 #

  21. At least he was wearing a helmet. His mom would be proud!

    Comment by Laura — 11:29 pm July 31, 2014 #

  22. this link to KOMO has a few more details, including info from a man that lives in a “shack” behind this house. sounds like an infamous house.

    Comment by flimflam — 8:40 am August 1, 2014 #

  23. Neighbor– Your information could be very helpful to investigators. Please call 911 right away to let them know.

    Comment by wssz — 8:55 am August 1, 2014 #

  24. Flim, the stuff about the shed/shack guy is from the SPD Blotter report we linked in the story last night – here’s the link again – that’s also where the regional media erroneously picked up “Delridge” as the incident’s location. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 10:07 am August 1, 2014 #

  25. ah. missed that. thank you.

    Comment by flimflam — 10:36 am August 1, 2014 #

  26. Neighbor: I also live in the vicinity and although we didn’t see anyone we did find a brochure about roofers and loud noises. Very odd to come home to find it since most companies don’t warn you. It more seemed to me like they were trying to drum up business since the brochure offered a “special deal” for the inconvenience. Unfortunately, we have since recycled this brochure and didn’t see who left it.

    lovewestseattle: I agree that this house has had it more than fair share of incidents in recent years. It hasn’t been very long since SWAT was there and I believe I read that was in conjunction with Bellevue PD and identity theft.

    Sad that this has happened, but I can’t say that I’m surprised by the circumstances.

    Comment by westsidemegan — 11:12 am August 1, 2014 #

  27. Yes, WSB, it’s Highline Park not Delridge area, you’re correct.

    Comment by lovewestseattle — 5:25 pm August 1, 2014 #

  28. You’re right, westsidemorgan, plus actually SWAT has been there twice. The first time to bust the theft ring there.

    Comment by lovewestseattle — 5:29 pm August 1, 2014 #

  29. lovewestseattle, that’s Highland Park

    Comment by 935 — 7:46 am August 2, 2014 #

  30. Oops, typo

    Comment by lovewestseattle — 8:29 pm August 2, 2014 #

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