Update: Fire at boarded-up house in Westwood

August 26, 2014 at 6:09 am | In West Seattle fires, West Seattle news, Westwood | 33 Comments

(WSB photos by Katie Meyer)
6:09 AM: Thanks for the texts about all the sirens. There’s a “fire in building” callout at 26th/Barton.

6:38 AM: It’s a residential building across from Westwood Village. No injuries reported.

6:52 AM: Some of the units have been dismissed – again, this was a large initial callout just because that is standard operating procedure for a building fire call until crews arrive. Others are leaving now for a separate fire call in High Point.

7:06 AM: No word of the cause yet – fire investigator is still on scene.

7:47 AM: 26th SW is still closed at the scene, though the fire’s been out a while.

8:28 AM: Seattle Fire spokesperson Kyle Moore says that while the home was indeed boarded up – as noted in comments below – the “house and backyard were full of combustible materials.” Though neighbors mention squatters, he says firefighters didn’t find anyone inside when they searched the house. They’re not sure yet how it started; damage is estimated at $55,000.

8:47 AM: SFD will be keeping “fire watch” at the house (which is in the 9200 block of 26th) for a while; Ladder 11 (above) just arrived to help with that.

4:50 PM: SFD published a wrap-up report on its Fireline site, noting that “evidence of transient activity” was found inside the house, which was “released (to its) owner” this afternoon. The cause remains officially listed as “undetermined.”


  1. Now hearing helicopters.

    Comment by Terri — 6:14 am August 26, 2014 #

  2. Heard all the sirens. Is that what all the helicopters are about as well?

    Comment by M — 6:15 am August 26, 2014 #

  3. Yes, likely any TV traffic helicopter that’s up this morning would be going over to look.

    Comment by WSB — 6:16 am August 26, 2014 #

  4. 6 fire trucks down there, lots of smoke. The road is blocked going East although they are letting the buses go through, but not cars.

    Comment by Meg — 6:17 am August 26, 2014 #

  5. House fire in a one story, vacant home, with transients living inside. House was boarded up, but also filled with debris.

    Comment by Dan — 6:19 am August 26, 2014 #

  6. Looks like its under control. Huge response though, there must have been nine to ten fire trucks and a dozen other emergency response vehicles. House fire three houses south if Barton St. On the west side of the street.

    Comment by Heath — 6:20 am August 26, 2014 #

  7. Search all clear, no victims found. They will do a second search to confirm.

    Comment by Dan — 6:20 am August 26, 2014 #

  8. I wonder if it’s the meth house on the corner with the chickens?

    Comment by S — 6:21 am August 26, 2014 #

  9. No sleep for the wicked! Man, that was a whole lot of sirens.
    Hoping everyone is all right.

    Comment by Mary Mitchell — 6:22 am August 26, 2014 #

  10. I’m pretty sure every emergency vehicle in South Seattle is at this corner. I’ve never seen so many.

    Comment by BG — 6:22 am August 26, 2014 #

  11. There have been a lot of sirens for one building…

    Comment by Sunrise Heights — 6:25 am August 26, 2014 #

  12. It’s a house fire on 26th Ave, S of Westwood village.

    Comment by Lisa — 6:26 am August 26, 2014 #

  13. Good grief. Why can’t news helicopters get 5 minutes of footage and then LEAVE. Talk about inconsiderate to the thousands who leave within earshot of that chopper hovering over Westwood.

    Comment by Dc — 6:28 am August 26, 2014 #

  14. Driving into work a few minutes ago on 26th SW I saw all the smoke, looks like somewhere in the vacinity of QFC or just north of their location in the shopping complex.

    Comment by payrollgirl — 6:29 am August 26, 2014 #

  15. I live about one block away. Sirens started awhile ago & a lot of them. Helicopter just left. Hope we can get an update soon.

    Comment by Jody — 6:31 am August 26, 2014 #

  16. That’s Westwood village area – any word on what’s on fire?

    Comment by Rockergirl5678 — 6:33 am August 26, 2014 #

  17. NEWS HELICOPTERS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YOYlgvI1uE

    Comment by sophista-tiki — 6:36 am August 26, 2014 #

  18. Strong smell of smoke up here in Arbor Heights. Not sure if it is related

    Comment by aa — 6:39 am August 26, 2014 #

  19. 911 says it’s a fire. I haven’t seen so many emergency vehicles in a long time. 26th is a primary bus thoroughfare, so they tried to rerout everything down 25th but it’s not wide enough. Riders may want to choose alternate means this morning

    Comment by Weenster — 6:39 am August 26, 2014 #

  20. Several emergency vehicles on site for apparent fire across the street from Westwood Village

    Comment by Erin — 6:47 am August 26, 2014 #

  21. My 21 local was about 5 min late after getting through the fire area.

    Comment by Paul — 6:49 am August 26, 2014 #

  22. Yeah, really strong smell of woodsmoke around 35th/Roxbury, wonder what that is about?

    Comment by Drew — 7:00 am August 26, 2014 #

  23. @ Drew, same here, I shot out of bed thinking it was in my house it was so strong.

    Comment by trick — 7:05 am August 26, 2014 #

  24. I live next door and was awakened by the sirens and smell of smoke. The house is vacant and transients have removed plywood to regain entry multiple times. Maybe the family will be forced to take action now.

    Comment by Riomama — 7:52 am August 26, 2014 #

  25. I drive by all the time, which house is it? Is this the brown one on the corner?

    Comment by coffee — 8:47 am August 26, 2014 #

  26. Coffee – it was hard to confirm as the dispatch has been “26th/Barton” all along. We just confirmed the address as 9213 26th SW (the third house from the southwest corner). I still don’t know why it was dispatched as “fire in building” instead of “fire in single-family residence” – the former would be valid if it were a duplex (or triplex, etc.) but county records just show it as a single-family house. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:00 am August 26, 2014 #

  27. Save the Plymouth! Seriously, doesn’t 55k in damage total a house like this? If it’s worth boarding up, it’s worth scheduling a date for it with the backhoe grabber thing. While I appreciate that there may be people who were using it for legitimate shelter, I can’t believe how long owners are allowed to leave a house vacant and boarded up or obviously abandoned. We can all think of two more within walking distance that are in the same sad shape, one indoor campfire away from meeting this fate.

    As a society we need to provide shelter for all who need it, and to maintain our neighborhoods free from eyesores like this. Abandoned housing stock should not be the de-facto shelters for the homeless.

    Comment by val vashon — 12:29 pm August 26, 2014 #

  28. Val, and one might add, when someone lets a house sit like this and not keep it secured, why are they not billed for the cost of the fire department? I have always thought that if one willingly leaves something that could be prevented then they should pay for the expense of cleanup….

    Comment by coffee — 3:12 pm August 26, 2014 #

  29. Val – I’m sure you’d be welcome to have the Plymouth. It hasn’t been driven for at least 5 years!
    Coffee – the owner’s family had the house boarded up about 6 weeks ago. However, the squatters have pulled the plywood off the windows and doors to get back in.

    Comment by Riomama — 4:39 pm August 26, 2014 #

  30. I’ve always wanted someone in West Seattle/Delridge to use this:


    I think it would be a shot heard round the city and would send a strong message that the game is over for the numerous irresponsible property owners and speculators who let their semi-boarded up vacant houses cause nothing but problems and blight for the people who live around them.

    Comment by WA State Nuisance Lawsuit Time? — 7:27 pm August 26, 2014 #

  31. Lot’s of comments about the number of fire rigs at the incident in question. Standard residential house fire response in Seattle is as follows:

    4 Engines (4 firefighters each)
    2 Ladder Trucks (4 firefighters each)
    2 Battalion Chiefs
    1 Deputy Chief
    1 Aid Car (2 firefighters each)
    1 Medic Unit (2 firefighter/paramedics)
    1 Air Truck (to replace used air bottles)
    1 Staffing Officer
    1 Safety Chief

    Seems like a lot of rigs/firefighters, but manpower is critical in working fires. Plus a big first alarm allows for a larger manpower pool to work from, so that there can be a safe and efficient rotation of fresh crews.

    Comment by Chris — 12:18 pm August 27, 2014 #

  32. They’ll be back. Adjoining properties have been having problems for months with trespass, car prowls, litter, etc. There is a utility easement at the rear of the property where fence boards were removed for access. Police are unable to do anything about the illicit traffic back there as it is partly public property – which leaves the private property owners to deal with the consequences on their own.

    Comment by anonyme — 6:32 am August 28, 2014 #

  33. WA state: as one of the neighbors dealing with this for almost 6 months, we have started the process for a nuisance property. It wasn’t until we had been calling regularly for a few months that SPD told us of this option. I’ve been in constant contact with the son and grandson of the homeowner about getting this dealt with, but since they don’t live in the neighborhood anymore, they are slow in their responses. I hope others in similar situations start the process sooner.

    Comment by Riomama — 8:09 am September 1, 2014 #

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