UPDATE: ‘Overheated electrical equipment’ blamed for Highland Park house fire


(WSB photos by Patrick Sand unless otherwise credited)

12:12 AM: A Seattle Fire “full response” is arriving at a house that’s on fire in the 7700 block of 14th SW near Holden [map].

12:17 AM: The first units to arrive report flames and heavy smoke from what’s described as a 3-story house.

12:22 AM: More engines are being sent.

12:35 AM: Just added first photos sent by our photographer, who says flames and smoke can still be seen pouring from the house.

Via scanner, we’ve heard firefighters say they’ve finished searching and have not found any victims in the house.

12:59 AM: SFD’s public-information officer Kristin Tinsley has arrived at the scene. She confirms no injuries are reported so far. Meantime, two nearby residents have sent photos – this first one via text:

This is via e-mail from Bryan:

1:11 AM: SFD tells us 4 people were home when the fire started. They all got out OK, no one hurt. SFD isn’t certain yet if more people live at the house. The Red Cross is being called to help. (Added – our video of spokesperson Tinsley’s briefing:)

Fire’s still not out, one hour after initial dispatch.

1:18 AM: The fire is now declared officially “under control.”

1:29 AM: And now they’re describing the fire 90+-percent out. Meantime, the people for whom they’re calling for Red Cross assistance are described as 3 women and 3 men, all adults.

2:05 AM: SFD has dismissed some of its crews. Investigators will be working to try to figure out the cause – we’ll have updates later this morning.

9:18 AM: SFD’s fire investigator is back out at the scene right now. Engine 11 is also keeping “fire watch” – an engine usually stays at major fire scenes for a while in case of flareups – you can see the hoses in our photo taken a short time ago:

We will update whenever new information is available.

2:01 PM: SFD just announced that “overheated electrical equipment in the void space above the basement kitchen” is what started the fire. Damage is estimated at $450,000.

12 Replies to "UPDATE: 'Overheated electrical equipment' blamed for Highland Park house fire"

  • dsa January 2, 2018 (12:47 am)

    Those are impressive pictures from an information point of view, otherwise sad and scary.

  • Brenna leonard January 2, 2018 (12:55 am)

    This was behind the house across the street from me. It looks like the entire house was on fire. So does this mean no one was home? I would love updates about who lives here, and how we can help them… 

    • WSB January 2, 2018 (1:04 am)

      Still waiting to hear if anyone was home. (Update) Four people were home when the fire started. Everyone got out OK. The Red Cross has been called to help them, for starters. (Another update) Red Cross is being called to help six people in all, three women & three men.

  • Pam January 2, 2018 (8:33 am)

    This is so sad and scary, just 2 blocks from our house which caught on fire on Dec 10 :-(  The Red Cross and the Fire Department and all of our neighbors and friends have been amazing since our fire.  I hope these people have a lot of support as well as this is very hard to go through. 

  • DawgtiredWS January 2, 2018 (10:48 am)

     I am so sorry for the loss of your home. I know how devastating this can be. My mother’s home was destroyed by a fire in 2012. The next day we went back to the house to protect what we could. What the fire didn’t destroy, the water did. All day long we had a steady stream of lawyers, builders, developers and advocates against the insurance companies. The advocates had the paperwork already completed and wanted us to sign the paperwork on the hood of their car. They wanted 30% of the insurance claim to represent you. No one knew where my mother was staying except the family but the advocates found her anyway in a West Seattle motel. Nothing was signed. Listen to your insurance company first and if uncomfortable with their offer consider contacting a known attorney. The Red Cross was great to us.    

    • Eileen Riddle January 2, 2018 (7:03 pm)

      I totally agree with you and great advice. I also had a house fire in 2014. These so called avocates came out of no where during the fire. There are so many involved during and after, you get confused as to who you are talking to or should be talking to.  

  • cjboffoli January 2, 2018 (12:33 pm)

    Among Patrick’s best fire images. Great work!

  • Jon Wright January 2, 2018 (5:29 pm)

    Any chance of getting more details about what “overheated electrical equipment in the void space above the basement kitchen” means specifically? That information might help prevent a future catastrophe like this.

    • Dietrich Schmitz January 3, 2018 (4:55 pm)

      Yeah, I’d like to know that too.  

  • MJ January 2, 2018 (9:53 pm)

    Sad that home was lost, but good no one was hurt.

    Good advice never sign paperwork when in a distressed situation.

  • Sarah January 4, 2018 (8:45 am)

    Same here! If there is any additional info, please let us know!

    • WSB January 4, 2018 (8:52 am)

      These are all the details SFD has released. I’ll ask but they generally don’t get into granular detail – that may be available in a final report available via public disclosure somewhere, but otherwise, when we have more details it’s usually via someone unofficial. Have not heard from anybody in this situation.

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