West Seattle, Washington
3:50 PM: We’re checking out a Seattle Fire call logged as “brush fire” in west Gatewood – the address is the 4400 block of SW Kenyon but we’ve found the SFD crews at Portland/44th. More to come.
3:53 PM: This fire call involves downed wires, firefighters tell us. They’ve called for City Light. The fire itself is out. This is in the Gatewood/Upper Fauntleroy 150+-customer power-outage zone but we don’t know if this is what’s to blame.
4:03 PM: SFD also has a crew down the slope at one of 45th SW’s dead ends east of Lincoln Park. On this side, the fire’s still smoldering – there’s a tree down on wires right next to a house.
5:18 PM: The downslope SFD crew has left; we went to that area and a City Light crew was just leaving too. SFD is still up at the SW Portland end, though. We also have heard from a few people not far away who are seeing brown water from their taps; could be related to the hydrant usage, but rather than guess, we’re advising people to call SPU at 206-386-1800.
6:41 PM: Thanks to the neighbor who sent this video from earlier:
We went back to the scene a little while ago and SFD said they expected to be leaving soon, though the Real-Time 911 log shows they haven’t closed the call yet. Seattle City Light was still also working in the area, working carefully to be able to deal with the line that went down.
When a Seattle Fire Department “full response” was sent at midmorning Friday to 5949 California SW – the 2-year-old microstudio apartment building known as Fauntleroy Lofts – it was the eighth time SFD had been called there in the past five days. And while today’s “full response” was for a kitchen fire, some of the other incidents have led to an arson investigation.
Archived Real-Time 911 logs show two calls there on Monday (February 11th), an Automatic Fire Alarm call at 2:56 pm and a 3 Red call at 4:40 pm. There were three on Thursday (February 15th), Automatic Fire Alarm calls at 2:57 pm and 4:39 pm and a 1 Red call at 5:44 pm. Today there were three more – an Automatic Fire Alarm call at 7:04 am, the “full response” at 10:25 am, and an Automatic Fire Alarm at 12:22 pm. Before that, online records show, there hadn’t been an SFD dispatch to 5949 California SW since a fire-alarm call on January 10th.
Two of the calls are linked to police reports classified as “reckless burning” – one on Monday, one on Thursday. The narrative explaining the reasons for that classification isn’t available online; SFD wouldn’t comment on the specifics, referring us to SPD because it’s the “lead agency for the investigation of these incidents.”
A tenant tells WSB that one Monday incident happened because “somebody took a roll of toilet paper, lit it on fire, and threw it into the hallway” and that the same thing happened again Thursday, both times on the same floor. Another incident, the tenant said, was a kitchen fire, while others involved someone “pulling the fire alarm.”
In e-mail to WSB, that resident and another one expressed concerns for their personal safety and security, and concerns that the building’s management/ownership was not doing enough about the situation. We sent an inquiry to an e-mail on the building’s website, and the manager responded that they would forward it to the owners, who e-mailed us this response:
We are writing you in response to an ongoing arson investigation at our building Fauntleroy Lofts. We take this all EXTREMELY serious, as the safety of our tenants has been grossly violated. We are working directly with both the Seattle Fire Dept. Arson Investigation Team and The Seattle Police Dept. to catch the person responsible for setting the fires and false alarms. Although we cannot discuss details of the investigation, we are working to locate and prosecute this criminal to the fullest extent of the law.
As owners, the safety of the both people living in our building and the surrounding community is our highest concern. Perception may be that nothing is being done, but please be assured we are doing everything we physically & legally can to provide our tenants with the safety and security they deserve. Although this may make it appear “nothing is being done”, our biggest priority is following protocol with the Arson investigation team so we can put an end to this so our building is safe again. ANY suspicious activity should be reported IMMEDIATELY to the Arson Investigation Team @ 1-800-55-ARSON or the Seattle Police Dept. Arson/Bomb Unit @ 206-684-8980.
The Owners of Fauntleroy Lofts
According to King County Assessor records, the building has 38 units.
10:30 AM: Seattle Fire is sending a “full response” to 5949 California SW. This is an apartment building that’s had multiple fire alarms in recent days, including one earlier this morning. More to come.
10:35 AM: SFD says it’s reported as a kitchen fire, and that the building’s sprinkler system “contained” it.
10:44 AM: Our crew on scene confirms that no smoke is visible, no reports of any injuries; fire alarms inside the building can still be heard from outside. We’ll be asking about the previous alarms; the most recent one was at 7 am today, and there were three yesterday afternoon. Right now, please avoid California SW in the area – it’s blocked by the emergency responders.
10:52 AM: SFD confirms it’s a kitchen fire and it’s out. They’re not commenting on the other recent calls there. They expect California SW to reopen within about 45 minutes.
12:41 PM: A fire engine is back there now on a separate fire-alarm call.
10:13 PM: A “full response” from Seattle Fire is headed to the 5200 block of 36th SW for a house fire east of Fairmount Park [map]. The first crews arriving are seeing flames. More to come.
10:17 PM: A second alarm is being called as SFD says two houses are involved. They’re also calling for utilities – one house is reported to have wires down in the back yard.
10:26 PM: Per scanner, “the fire is under control in both buildings.” No word of any injuries so far.
10:40 PM: Some of the units are being dismissed.
10:58 PM: The fire has been called as “tapped.” Lt. Sue Stangl spoke to us at the scene; she says they believe the fire started in the house to the south, spread apparently via utility wire(s) to the one next door. (Added – video of her briefing)
If two houses are on fire, it’s an automatic 2-alarm, she explained; fast response also got this under control fairly fast, though they’re still assessing to see if the residents – all of whom got out OK – can go back inside.
ADDED FRIDAY MORNING: As noted in comments, SFD has posted an update on the fire’s cause and extent of damage:
Fire damage to the original house was too substantial to reoccupy. The neighboring house’s damage was limited to the exterior but due to air quality inside, the occupants were rehoused temporarily.
Fire investigators determined that discarded smoking materials on the back porch started the fire. The cumulative loss to both houses is estimated to be $300,000.
12:27 PM: Seattle Fire has a big response on the way to the 9100 block of 45th SW in Fauntleroy. More to come.
12:32 PM: We’re just arriving – smoke is visible. It’s a three-story condo building with fire in one unit, per SFD radio, with one firefighter noting they’ve rescued a dog. (Photo added)
And if you’re hearing a helicopter, it’s a TV chopper taking a look.
12:39 PM: SFD tells us this was an electrical problem in a wall and while it generated a lot of smoke, it was confined to the wall. Nobody hurt.
12:44 PM: Note that 45th SW is blocked between Wildwood and Director (just north of the Endolyne mini-business district) until more of the SFD units leave.
4:47 PM: Update from SFD on fire’s cause: “Fire investigators ruled the fire as accidental. Fire was caused by ignition of combustible materials placed too close to an electric wall heater. Estimated loss is $55,000.”
FIRST REPORT, 7:17 PM: Getting word of a power outage in Westwood and South Delridge. More to come.
7:19 PM: Hearing from Highland Park and White Center too. And the SFD log says it’s a vault fire at 22nd and Roxbury.
7:26 PM: On our way to check out the fire scene. Meantime, we’d suggest avoiding Roxbury in that area. And remember that dark stoplights are all-way stops. More than 3,000 customers are out, according to the City Light map.
7:39 PM: Roxbury is blocked by the emergency response, which is near Holy Family. Our crew just arrived in the area. SFD is investigating smoke coming up from a utility-hole cover. For those asking what a “vault fire” means – “vault” in this case is an underground installation of utility equipment.
7:43 PM: The fire is apparently not huge – some units are being dismissed. The City Light restoration estimate is 2 am but PLEASE remember, as we always point out in outage situations (and as SCL itself acknowledges), that is just a guess … could be back on much sooner, or much later.
7:49 PM: Our crew just checked on the detours. If you are headed east, you’ll be rerouted at 21st/Roxbury; if you’re headed west, you’ll be rerouted at 17th and Roxbury.
8:01 PM: We also checked on Westwood Village businesses – the QFC to Marshall’s side is all/mostly out, but other businesses are on. Will also be checking on downtown White Center, which is in the outage zone too, per SCL’s map.
8:14 PM: Per comments, texts, and firsthand sightings in the field, we have word at least some have their power back already. SCL’s map says the outage is down to 1,300+ customers, less than half the initial number.
8:35 PM: As shown on the updated map above, almost everyone still out is south of Roxbury. That includes downtown White Center:
We’d heard police say via scanner that they had been told they could reopen Roxbury. We’ve also just seen a tweet that Route 560 is no longer rerouted off Roxbury – we’re heading back to the zone to verify.
8:41 PM: Just checked the SCL map and it shows just about everyone back on. If you are NOT – please be sure SCL knows – 206-684-3000. Thanks again to everyone for the updates, including first word of the outage – 206-293-6302 is our breaking-news hotline, 24/7.
9:24 PM: We did verify that Roxbury is open again; when we went through, the 16th/Roxbury signal was in flashing-red mode, though, so another reminder, that means stop all ways.
2:36 PM: Thanks to David Christensen for the photo, and everyone else who sent tips – if you are seeing smoke near Lincoln Park, it’s from that car fire on the southbound side of Fauntleroy Way. No other info yet.
2:40 PM: And thanks to Heather Black for this photo:
3:11 PM: At the scene, which is north of the main LP parking lot. Tow truck is here. We are told no one was hurt and no other vehicles were involved – the driver was just rolling along when he noticed there was a problem.
Thanks for the tip – Seattle Fire was called to the parking lot at Chief Sealth International High School (2600 SW Thistle) for a car fire. The fire is out, no injuries, no other cars damaged. They called for police to respond because they initially couldn’t find the car’s owner – who our crew has learned has just been found, and is a student.
12:42 PM: A big Seattle Fire callout is in the 8400 block of 5th SW [map], near Westcrest Park, where SFD says what started as a vehicle fire has “extended to a structure.”
12:48 PM: According to radio communications, the fire has not extended to the residence at that address. Many of the responding units have been dismissed. Adding an SFD photo from before the vehicle fire was extinguished.
1:08 PM: Our crew at the scene confirms that the fire is out. How it started remains under investigation; we’re told no one was home at the time, and there are no injuries.
1:16 PM: Firefighters on the scene also confirm that damage is limited to the vehicle and garage. (Photo of the other side of the house, added above)
6:08 PM: SFD tells us they have not yet determined how the fire started, “pending further investigation.” Damage estimate: “$20,000 loss to structure and $20,000 loss vehicle.”
All but one of the units sent to a South Delridge apartment building are being dismissed – turns out to have been a kitchen fire inside one unit of the building at 9203 17th SW, and someone in the apartment has already extinguished it. No injuries reported.
9:21 AM: Thanks for the photos – that car fire is causing trouble on Fauntleroy Way SW at SW Rose, by Lincoln Park. Anne from Ventana Construction (WSB sponsor) tells us it’s blocking northbound traffic. Metro just sent an alert about transit delays in the area, too.
No injuries reported.
9:42 AM: One more photo added – the SDOT crew called to clean up so the road could be reopened. Police at the scene verify that no one was hurt; the road has reopened.
Seattle Fire crews were on the scene of a dumpster fire in The Arroyos for several hours this morning – so, given the recent wave of suspicious dumpster fires elsewhere in the city, we asked SFD what they’d found out about this one. Just got the update from SFD spokesperson Kristin Tinsley that this one was “ruled accidental, caused by improperly discarded oil-staining rags. The material spontaneously combusted.” A neighbor says it was a construction-type dumpster.
8:06 AM: Seattle Fire has a “full response” just arriving in the 4000 block of 39th SW [map] for a possible house fire.
8:12 AM: Per scanner, at least one injured person has been found. They’re calling for more units.
8:19 AM: This is affecting traffic nearby – SFD is asking for SPD help at 40th/Andover.
8:26 AM: The man brought out of the house is described as around 50 years old and seriously injured, with burns. He will be taken to Harborview. The house is extensively damaged; our crew is there now and we are adding photos.
8:42 AM: We’re waiting for an official update from SFD’s public-information officer, who’s at the scene. The fire itself appears to be largely out.
8:58 AM: Capt. Shata Stephenson tells us the man, who is believed to be 55 to 60 years old, was in critical condition as he was being taken to Harborview; life-saving measures started even before the medic unit left. The fire itself was put out relatively quickly, thanks to fast work by neighbors in spotting the smoke and flames and calling 911. SFD’s investigator is working to find out how it started.
9:45 AM: Added above, video of Capt. Stephenson’s briefing. We will update if/when more information about the fire victim and/or cause becomes available.
ADDED TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Commenters say the victim has died (we have contacted the Medical Examiner, Harborview, and SFD to try to confirm this and none have that information so far). Meantime, we also asked SFD about the fire’s cause; spokesperson Kristin Tinsley replied, “The fire started on the first floor of the home, near the side entry door in the kitchen. The fire cause was ruled undetermined by investigators.”
Seattle Fire units are arriving at a house in the 4000 block of 23rd SW [map] on Pigeon Point. The original call was for a short-lived basement fire, already out when SFD was dispatched, and everyone is reported to have gotten out, but crews are checking out a possible gas odor. They’ve confirmed the fire is out and are ventilating the basement. They’re also checking out one person reported to have suffered burns.
(UPDATED TUESDAY AFTERNOON with fire’s cause)
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.
3:52 PM: Seattle Fire has a “full response” on the way to a possible house fire in the 3400 block of 60th SW [map]. More to come.
3:57 PM: SFD units on the scene report that it’s a kitchen fire, and they’re dismissing most of the responders.
4:12 PM: Just arrived and verified, kitchen fire, out, and remaining crews are getting ready to leave. No injuries reported.
We monitored two emergency calls in the past hour that were both downgraded relatively quickly but had initially sizable responses, so in case you wondered:
-SPD/SFD call to 42nd/Alaska (Junction Plaza Park/QFC side) just after 9 pm initially went out as “assault with weapons” and police were requesting a K-9, but then they discovered that the victim had been injured more than an hour earlier so any possible suspect was long gone. We don’t know the circumstances but the injury was not major enough for medic-unit transport; a private ambulance was called.
-SFD call to 25th/Barton (north of Westwood Village) at 8:45 pm turned out to be a fireplace problem rather than an actual fire.
A 41-year-old man is being taken to Harborview Medical Center with burns to his face and hands after what was described on Seattle Fire radio as a propane explosion in an RV. Several SFD units were dispatched to 1st Avenue South and SW Kenyon [map] to fight the resulting fire and treat the patient. The fire is under investigation.
6 PM: Units on scene report it’s a kitchen fire and it’s out.
6:07 PM: Update: Firefighters are still tackling a few “hot spots.” No injuries reported.
6:16 PM: Photo added. Our crew at the scene confirms that the fire was in the kitchen; firefighters are wrapping up and say everyone is unhurt.
11:44 PM: A “full response” is headed to a possible house fire in the 7700 block of 8th SW [map]. Initial description is that it’s believed to be an electrical fire in the basement.
11:48 PM: Per scanner, first crews to arrive report “light smoke.”
11:51 PM: It’s been assessed as an electrical problem but no flames; most of the SFD crews are being dismissed.
2:50 AM: Firefighters are at a house in the 3700 block of 59th SW [map], fighting what SFD calls a “small attic fire.”
3 AM: The fire has been declared “under control.” No injuries reported so far.
3:05 AM: And now the fire is pronounced “tapped.”
3:12 AM: Our crew has arrived and confirms the fire’s out, no one hurt. The cause is under investigation.
10:06 AM: We just checked back with SFD about the cause. Spokesperson Kristin Tinsley says, “Fire investigators ruled this fire as accidental … caused by heat from roof work earlier in the day, which ignited a smoldering fire in the eaves above the front door.” Damage/loss is estimated at $70,000.
5:52 PM: Per scanner, the fire may have extended into the house. Everyone is reported to have gotten out OK.
5:56 PM: The fire’s reported to be burning in the attic. SFD confirms no injuries reported.
6:10 PM: Traffic alert – SW Holden is blocked in the area. The fire is now reported to be under control. The Red Cross is being called to help the house’s residents.
6:19 PM: One resident told our photographer that they believe the fire was electrical and started in a wall in the back of the house. She confirms everyone got out OK, but they’re currently looking for their two cats.
7:19 PM: Holden is open again.
4:33 PM: Seattle Fire has a “full response” headed for a house in Arbor Heights, in the 9900 block of 37th SW. More to come.
4:49 PM: The log shows most of the SFD units have been dismissed from the call, so it’s not major. We are en route in hopes of finding out.
5 PM: Last SFD crew (Engine 37) left just as we were arriving in the area and the call is officially closed. No one else around to ask but note that 99th is blocked off in the area – looks like downed wires/cables of some kind, on the other side of the yellow “caution” tape.
SUNDAY NOTE: Lynn explains here what happened.