UPDATE: 3-alarm fire damages 20+ apartments in Delridge building, displacing 40+ people

(9:41 PM TOPLINE: SFD on “fire watch” all night at scene of 3-alarm fire. 47 people displaced; Red Cross helping. No one was hurt. No word yet on cause)

(Added: Video contributed by next-door neighbor Seth – read his story below in 5:10 pm update – that’s the back, west-facing side of building)

FIRST REPORT, 2:42 PM: A Seattle Fire “full response” is headed to the 6900 block of Delridge Way SW [map]. The first units arriving are seeing “heavy smoke.”

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(WSB photo)

2:45 PM: SFD is calling out a second alarm. This is just north of the busy Delridge/Orchard/Sylvan intersection so avoid that area TFN.

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(This photo and next are courtesy Jennifer)

2:53 PM: Via scanner, one person is reported injured, and this is described as a “significant exterior fire on several units.” Our crew is arriving in the area and confirms “serious smoke.”

jennifer2

3:01 PM: The fire also is reported to be in the attic.

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(Photo courtesy @tantruong)

3:05 PM: For those asking about the helicopters, they are just TV. SFD does not have helicopters.

(WSB Instagram video – mouse over image to find and click play button)

3:15 PM: SFD is continuing to search the building. They also have called for more units.

crewinsmoke

3:27 PM: Via scanner, we hear they are calling for the Red Cross, which assists victims in situations like this – the number of units affected could be in the double digits. And we’ve confirmed this fire has now gone to 3 alarms (each “full response” group of units is one alarm, so this is roughly triple what would usually respond to a building fire).

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3:43 PM: Firefighters are focusing now on “hot spots.” Meantime, as mentioned in comment discussion, this is a Seattle Housing Authority complex. The SHA website says the complex has 51 units; we’re expecting an official briefing at the scene momentarily, to find out among other things how many units are affected.

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4:05 PM: More than three dozen SFD units remain on the scene – see the list here.

Just heard from our crew at the scene, after the briefing by SFD spokesperson Lt. Harold Webb. He says they have no information yet on how this started. (Added: Video of Lt. Webb’s entire briefing)

Contrary to an early report, no one has been hurt – it appears at this point that everyone got out OK. At least 20 units are damaged or destroyed – see the photo we added above, showing how much of the roof is gone in the building – so this is affecting a lot of families, and as mentioned, the Red Cross disaster response team is coming out to figure out how to help.

4:17 PM: Metro buses are being brought into the scene so that residents have someplace to go in the short run. And we’ve heard back from SHA communications director Kerry Coughlin, who says, “SHA has numerous senior property management and communications staff on the scene. We absolutely will make sure all affected residents will have housing until their units are safe and restored. We will work with the Red Cross and other community partners as needed and use emergency hotel vouchers or other resources as needed.”

5:10 PM: Some of the units are being dismissed. Please continue to avoid Delridge/Orchard TFN; Metro says Route 120 is still being rerouted. Meantime, we have added video at the top of this report, taken even before SFD arrived, shared by next-door neighbor Seth, who says, “I live next door. I saw smoke, ran around the side and saw flame and smoke and didn’t hear any alarms. I saw one cop run in the south entrance and up the stairs so I ran in the downstairs hallway to activate an alarm, which thankfully worked. I took the video right after. Pretty scary stuff. I went up the driveway to our house and grabbed our cat and car and headed out. I’m soooo grateful for SFD right now. I’m convinced they saved our house.” We are also adding, inline above, several more photos by WSB’s Patrick Sand taken during the peak of the firefight. He’ll be going back to the scene later this evening to follow up.

7:50 PM: Delridge Way has reopened.

8:14 PM: From our return to the scene – the Red Cross is there:

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47 people were displaced; 35 are accepting help from the Red Cross, according to spokesperson Jennifer Blackwood, who says a temporary shelter is set up at Delridge Community Center for tonight and maybe tomorrow night. Cots were being set up there and dinner was waiting for the residents, who were getting a Metro bus ride to DCC. It was stressed again, if you want to help, please do it via the Red Cross. (Commenter McBride made that point eloquently earlier.)

We also talked with Seattle Housing Authority reps at the scene. More on that shortly.

9:41 PM: SFD remains on “fire watch” all night, meaning at least one crew will be on scene in case there’s a flareup – this is fairly standard with major fires. No word yet on the cause; the investigation continues tomorrow.

SHA told us at the scene that they also have private security to help SFD keep the scene secure. They in the meantime are working with building managers on the next step. They’ll go in to assess the damage once SFD gives them the go-ahead, possibly as soon as tomorrow. That’s also when they will start working to find SHA housing for those who don’t have family or friends to stay with; they stress that they will do their best to keep families close to the schools their children attend and to ensure people are still able to get to their jobs.

They also wanted to thank their on-site managers, SFD, and the SW Precinct police for their quick response and getting everyone out safely after the fire broke out.

74 Replies to "UPDATE: 3-alarm fire damages 20+ apartments in Delridge building, displacing 40+ people"

  • Betsy Hoffmeister September 27, 2016 (2:46 pm)

    Every fire truck in Seattle is racing down delridge. 

  • sam-c September 27, 2016 (2:47 pm)

    A second alarm? is that bad ?  :(

    I hope everyone is out of the building safely and  the fire fighters stay safe also.

  • Sage K. September 27, 2016 (2:49 pm)

    Wow, I’ve been hearing all the sirens go past and smelling some smoke. Glad you’re on it and I now know what is going on.

  • Pixie B September 27, 2016 (2:52 pm)

    I can see the smoke from 32nd and Holden.  Lots of black smoke.

  • Betsy September 27, 2016 (2:54 pm)

    I don’t know when I’ve last heard so many sirens. Hope all are well. Let us know how neighbors can help, WSB. If I’m not mistaken, these are not high-income apartments and neighbors may need support. 

  • RWC September 27, 2016 (2:55 pm)

    2:53  Third set of aid and emergency units passed Uptown Espresso on Delridge

    2:54  Fourth set of units pass.

    • sam-c September 27, 2016 (3:09 pm)

      3:07- another set of units just passed by

  • RWC September 27, 2016 (2:56 pm)

    2:56 Fifth set of units pass.

  • Daniel September 27, 2016 (2:58 pm)

    I don’t see the smoke but hearing tons and tons of sirens and now I hear a helicopter

  • Seattleseth September 27, 2016 (2:59 pm)

    I live next door. Looks bad. I’m freaking out about my house right now. FYI- after seeing flames in the side I went in to activate the alarm. Lots of smoke and the alarm hasn’t been triggered! Awful.

    • Seth September 27, 2016 (4:21 pm)

      I barely made sense, sorry – I was commenting while freaking out. To clarify, I am wondering why the alarms were not going off in the apartments? After seeing 2 windows engulfed, I quickly went in the south side entrance and flipped the fire alarm on, which worked. Aren’t those supposed to trigger with smoke? And there was plenty of smoke. 

      • Chris September 27, 2016 (5:43 pm)

        Not necessarily.  All new multi-family buildings must be sprinkler protected AND have a fire alarm system.  A few years ago, the new fire code came out, and the code required that existing multi-family buildings (of a specific size/occupancy) must be retrofitting with a manually activated fire alarm system.

        I’m assuming this is what you pulled/activated.  These systems are monitored by a fire alarm monitoring company, but again, someone has to activate a pull station.  MOST of the retrofitted systems do not have smoke detectors.

        Good job pulling/activating the system.  That’s how it’s supposed to work. 

      • Shari September 27, 2016 (6:40 pm)

        Seth, you flipped the alarms on a 3-alarm apartment fire. You, I am sure, saved lives. You are a hero. Thank you for running to it and alerting everyone!!! This could have been so much worse if you had not done that! 

        Sincerely,

        Shari 

      • Assist 2 Sell Home Realty September 28, 2016 (2:08 pm)

        That was quick thinking Seth!  Way to be on your toes!  I’m sure you helped save lives!

  • leshawn dandridge September 27, 2016 (3:00 pm)

    15 response vehicles from North to South so far, looks like this one could be devastating. Praying that everyone got out safe.

  • Daniel September 27, 2016 (3:01 pm)

    Now I see two helicopters and maybe a third on the way

  • Jill September 27, 2016 (3:01 pm)

    I can see the smoke from the ferry boat. Trying to upload photo. 

  • SK September 27, 2016 (3:01 pm)

    I live very close by. It looks bad, like one of the buildings is totally on fire. It must have happened VERY fast as I was outside just a half-hour ago and didn’t see anything. Now this!

  • AJ September 27, 2016 (3:03 pm)

    Blue helicopter hovering over Sunrise Heights, SW of the fire. Related?

  • AL September 27, 2016 (3:03 pm)

    Note that A LOT of kids will be arriving home late from school as MANY school buses  (including mine Rt’s 565 and 964) pass through that area multiple times in an afternoon.

  • miws September 27, 2016 (3:04 pm)

    Healing Thoughts to the person injured, and I hope everyone else, residents and responders stay safe. 

    I’m about a mile south, and there’s been a pretty decent breeze from the north today. The smoke I’m smelling and feeling with my chronic lung issues is pretty significant, and is likely from that, although it seems  a lot closer. :-( 

    Mike

  • EE September 27, 2016 (3:06 pm)

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CtZFSFOVYAAlioB.jpg

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CtZFS33VMAEFyrr.jpg

    Smoke from roughly 2-3 blocks away

  • ET September 27, 2016 (3:07 pm)

    hope all are ok. helicopter is right over my house and we can see the smoke, 29th & Othello. 

  • why_cause September 27, 2016 (3:08 pm)

    Is Delridge being completely blocked?

  • Alki Resident September 27, 2016 (3:10 pm)

    Im next to Tug Tavern. Im in tears knowing this is a very hot fire. So many just lost housing. Pray for these neighbors. Heartbreaking

  • RWC September 27, 2016 (3:10 pm)

    2:56 Fifth set of units pass.

    3:08 Sixth: Command and Control unit passes

    3:09 Seventh set of units pass

  • Bob September 27, 2016 (3:11 pm)

    They will need support 

  • n7oep September 27, 2016 (3:11 pm)

    Sounds like the fire has been “upped” to 3 alarms.

  • arutun September 27, 2016 (3:12 pm)

    Wow. I happened to see the early signs of smoke from the Home Depot parking lot. When I got there only one police car was present. Within seconds 4 more police arrived, jumped out of their cars, and raced toward the burning building with amazing determination and courage.

    West Seattle has top notch first responders!!

  • RWC September 27, 2016 (3:13 pm)

    3:12 Eighth: Aid unit passes

  • DC September 27, 2016 (3:13 pm)

    Looks bad. Very bad. Like the building is a total loss. Hope everyone is okay.

    • WSB September 27, 2016 (3:20 pm)

      The building is NOT completely engulfed – please, no speculation. For ex, units searching 2nd floor said no fire on that floor.

  • South Delridge Gal September 27, 2016 (3:13 pm)

    Are they evacuating STEM / Boren?

    • WSB September 27, 2016 (3:22 pm)

      This is blocks from there. STEM is 5950 Delridge – this is 6955

  • RWC September 27, 2016 (3:18 pm)

    3:18  Ninth unit passes

  • Arlene September 27, 2016 (3:20 pm)

    Praying for everyone involved. Undoubtedly many people will be out of their homes tonight and for nights to come. Please let us know how we, their neighbors and friends, can help.

    • WSB September 27, 2016 (3:30 pm)

      As mentioned above, the Red Cross is being called out.

  • ohwellmaybenot September 27, 2016 (3:25 pm)

    I hope everyone is okay and safe, humans and animals both! 

  • willbehonest September 27, 2016 (3:29 pm)

    Watching live helo feed looks like flames are getting under control. Can see men working inside building. These are brave men and woman. Bless them. Hoping Red Cross will activate quickly to assist all affected by loss of home and possessions. Looks like a sizable housing complex… 

  • Rob m September 27, 2016 (3:30 pm)

    Great response by seattle fire depth glad they have our backs

  • ScubaFrog September 27, 2016 (3:33 pm)

    How awful.  I hope everyone’s alright.  Think about how many people will be displaced because of this… And how many people will lose valuable/sentimental things. I hope there’s a shelter set up? 

  • Lisa September 27, 2016 (3:34 pm)

    Thank you for the excellent reporting WSB

  • Fleurt September 27, 2016 (4:22 pm)

    Thank you WSB for updating – lots of fire engines going by the shop this afternoon and came to the blog to check what was going on first, as always.

    So very sad for everyone effected. Hoping all animals were able to make it out ok too :(

  • Les Cruz September 27, 2016 (4:27 pm)

    So I checked this location on Google Map and when I viewed the 360° picture it has a fire truck right outside. Scary coincidence. Hope no one was hurt.

    • WSB September 27, 2016 (4:36 pm)

      In our 4:05 update above, we had that good news – no injuries after all. SFD also credited SPD (whose precinct is a couple blocks away) with helping get everyone out fast.

  • Bus rider September 27, 2016 (4:39 pm)

    For those taking the 120, last stop on Delridge is Genesse before it follows the 125 route by the college. Comes back to Delridge on Orchard. 

  • Michele September 27, 2016 (4:46 pm)

    That’s amazing that no one is hurt! We have an incredible emergency response system here. And glad also that it is owned by a public agency who will ensure all the residents have housing.  

  • La September 27, 2016 (4:58 pm)

    Eye witnesses stated that there were no sprinklers activated or smoke alarms sounded. There were no alerts until someone pulled a fire alarm.  I can’t imagine that this building was up to code and I really hope that this matter is looked into. Thank goodness nobody was hurt.

    • WSB September 27, 2016 (5:01 pm)

      SFD’s spokesperson did not have any info on that but said investigators will be looking into it.

  • Yea September 27, 2016 (5:02 pm)

    What can we do? How to help? I have sleeping bags  & some blankets- I know not much

  • McBride September 27, 2016 (5:09 pm)

    A Red Cross activation means that individuals who are affected by the fire will be offered temporary housing, funds to cover expenses (clothing, food, whatever), and assistance with relocation and related services.

    .

    How you can help: donations to the American Red Cross are what pays for everything listed above. You will be paying it forward – the donations made previously by others are paying for this response, as yours will fund a future event. Also, consider volunteering. The American Red Cross is a volunteer driven organization. The local chapter (King County) operates six DAT (Disaster Action Team) teams, on a weekly rotation schedule. DAT team 4 is responding today, and all of them are volunteers. For more information on our local Red Cross chapter, visit http://www.redcross.org/local/washington/volunteer.

    • AmandaKH September 27, 2016 (6:54 pm)

      Thanks for the information and reminder about how to help McBride.  I donated on this page, and you can choose to specifically donate to people affected by house fires.  https://www.redcross.org/donate/modf

  • Holly September 27, 2016 (5:32 pm)

    Good thinking pulling the alarm, Seth.

  • Noah September 27, 2016 (6:10 pm)

    Considering no alarms or sprinklers Seth may have saved some lives with his quick thinking.  Thank you!

  • DawgtiredWS September 27, 2016 (6:12 pm)

    FYI    My mother’s home in West Seattle was involved with a fire in 2012. Her home and contents  were completely destroyed by the fire or by water damage. The Red Cross came to her aid and did a wonderful job.  The Red Cross explained to us at the time that it works in phases. Phase 1 is to get you a temporary place to live and gave us a list of hotels/models in the SeaTac area.  We accepted the offer. It appears that you must accept Phase 1 in order to get any additional help down the road.  Friends and family may offer you a place to stay temporarily, but you could possible miss out on future benefits from the Red Cross.  I don’t know if this format has changed since then but it’s something to consider.  My thoughts and prayers go out to all those involved and I know  difficult the rebuilding can be.

  • willbehonest September 27, 2016 (6:42 pm)

    Seth is the man!!! A lifesaver!!!

  • Melissa September 27, 2016 (7:07 pm)

    I had a similar experience to DawgtiredWS.  My mom lost everything in hurricane Sandy.  They told us they could not help with housing because it was not an emergency;  would not help me access services for her because it was not an emergency.  They might want to g

  • Eddie September 27, 2016 (7:34 pm)

    Would anyone know if Delridge is now open to traffic. I live beside Lambos…

  • Pops September 27, 2016 (7:40 pm)

    Anyone know how the fire started?

  • Daniel Szwalkiewicz September 27, 2016 (7:40 pm)

    As of an hour ago it was not open.  I was hoping to hear it was open too.

    • WSB September 27, 2016 (7:50 pm)

      I just got a text from co-publisher Patrick, who says it was open again as of just after 7:30.

  • Daniel Szwalkiewicz September 27, 2016 (7:58 pm)

    ITS OPEN

  • Mike September 27, 2016 (8:03 pm)

    Seth, you did right.  Your actions definitely saved people from far worse.  Nicely done!

  • Happy spider September 27, 2016 (10:15 pm)

    Is there anything we can do to help those who lost their home? 

  • McBride September 27, 2016 (11:02 pm)

    @Dawgtired – yes, procedures have changed since 2012. 

    .

    @Melissa – I’m sorry for your mother’s circumstance. Major disasters have different response protocols and without knowing the particulars I can’t really speculate. I can say that the Red Cross is a second tier response agency, activated by the request of first responders. During events that involve a disaster declaration (e.g. Hurricanes), multiple agencies are involved and layers of protocol come into play. This was likely a factor. Contained events, such as domestic fires, not so much. 

    .

    @Seth – great job, man. Hero status.

  • Alex S. September 28, 2016 (9:01 am)

    Is there a clothing drive or furniture drive that we can start? I know Red Cross is there too but maybe there could be a direct fundraising/donation effort?

  • GlynB September 28, 2016 (9:17 am)

    WSB, please let us know how we can help those people affected. I was about to take a bunch of stuff to goodwill. I can save it until I know what is needed. Lots of household stuff and clothes, shoes, toys, etc.

    • WSB September 28, 2016 (10:11 am)

      Right now it seems to be in a kind of chicken-and-egg situation … the Red Cross asked us if we know of anyone that is collecting items because people are calling them to ask that question … we said, we’re standing by to spread the word IF there are any particular needs, but otherwise the word had been, support the Red Cross. So we’ll be checking back with them this morning, and also with SHA. If anyone comes across word of something being organized, please let us know, either in a comment or editor@westseattleblog.com – we’ll be following up on this as well as the fire investigation. We just went back to the scene and firefighters remain on watch so we’ll be publishing a few photos from that – TR

  • ClayJustSayin September 28, 2016 (10:51 am)

    Thank SFD and SPD and whoever pulled the alarm.  People get away with their lives but not with all their important papers etc.

    They will need so much more than just a new roof over their heads.

  • Phuc Hoai September 28, 2016 (11:58 am)

    my grandpa live in there tho he got nothing left all of his cloth his macbook is burn.

  • CHRISTOPHER CHORNEY September 28, 2016 (12:08 pm)

    Sanislo Elementary is in the process of organizing a food drive for two of the families who lost everything. One family is expecting a new baby any day.

    • WSB September 28, 2016 (12:16 pm)

      Thank you! Please let us know when there are details. People obviously are really eager to help. We’ve been circling back around with the Red Cross and Housing Authority and so far today we are told they are waiting to hear about anyone organizing anything … but again, before anything can be organized, the needs have to be made public. I expect to have a separate followup before too long, as we’re also waiting on word of the fire’s cause, and whatever we find out will be in it. – TR

  • WSB September 29, 2016 (5:29 pm)

    Adding to this comment thread – we now have a list of how to help:

    http://westseattleblog.com/2016/09/how-to-help-donation-drives-for-people-displaced-by-lam-bow-apartments-fire/

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