West Seattle, Washington
If you saw/heard all the SFD units just now – they were headed to a possible fire in a multifamily building in the 2200 block of Alki SW. We’ve just heard via scanner that it was a false alarm – somebody was starting up a grill and the smoke set off a smoke detector. So the units are being dismissed.
1:43 PM: Seattle Fire is sending a “full response” for a possible apartment fire at 44th/Oregon. The first unit on scene is seeing some “white smoke from a 5th floor window.”
1:50 PM: Our crew isn’t there yet but we’re hearing via the scanner that this is a kitchen fire. Just added photo above, courtesy of Eddie.
1:57 PM: Our crew on scene confirms that it’s indeed a kitchen fire. It’s now out. The photo above this line is from WSB’s Patrick Sand – we’ve also confirmed that it’s The Lofts at The Junction (4535 44th SW). No injuries reported.
2:15 PM: SFD says one person has been treated for smoke inhalation.
9:33 AM: Seattle Fire has a “full response” headed to a possible apartment fire in the 9000 block of 9th SW [map]. More to come.
9:44 AM: Still waiting to hear from our crew but the SFD log shows most units responding to this have been canceled.
9:47 AM: It was a small kitchen fire. No injuries reported.
FIRST REPORT, 2:28 PM: A “brush fire” call that’s been open since late morning in the Roxhill Park area is actually an underground peat fire, according to Seattle Parks, which says it’s under control but has claimed a few trees. Parks also says part of the park will be closed TFN because of the fire. We’ll be heading over to find out more. The peat bog in the park was restored years ago but has gone dry because of a variety of problems that the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition has long been trying to get the city to address. More to come.
3:04 PM UPDATE: We are at the park now. SFD and Parks are working together to dig into the peat to try to get to a not-burned area so they can cut off the fire. They have had to tear out some trees to get to it.
(And yes, that’s a TV helicopter.) What looks like smoke in our photos, we are told, is ash. Peat fires can burn for days, weeks, even months, so SFD is hoping this hasn’t extended too far. It’s at the southeast corner of the park.
3:56 PM UPDATE: Back at HQ now, and adding more images.
Since the fire isn’t out, SFD can’t say for sure how it started, but Deputy Chief Gene Zimmerman told us firefighters have been out a few times in recent days to extinguish “small warming fires” in that area of the park. We will check back in early evening but right now, this is NOT affecting the play area on the west side of the park, except that an SFD line is running to the fire area from a hydrant on 29th SW on the southwest side of the park. (added) This view of digging to fight the fire …
…is reminiscent of a view from the Seattle Municipal Archives, dated 1961, of peat being dug up in the area during road work (we’ve published this photo before):
FRIDAY NOTE: SFD closed out the call late Thursday night. We haven’t received a response yet to our question for them, whether the fire’s considered extinguished, but we went over at 5:30 pm for a look:
All that remains is a big muddy area, with chain-link fence around it. The paths to the east and to the north (toward the bus stop) are taped off, but nothing else in the park is affected. We’ll be checking with Seattle Parks, and again with SFD, next week.
More than a week after the fire at the Green Acres apartment complex north of Morgan Junction, Jilyan at nearby C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor) has continued coordinating efforts to help those who were affected, and says one person still needs help in two ways – urgently:
Urgent help needed!!! Please bring packing supplies (boxes, tape, bubble wrap etc) to C & P Coffee between now and Sunday night.
Some of you may have seen the fundraising that’s been organized for Green Acres. Everyone seems to have the help they need with the exception of one resident. I have been meeting with her, and the apartment manager to try to figure out how best to help her.
Joanie is still living in her apartment, with no electricity, because she has nowhere to go (and is not able to tackle this task on her own). Seattle Housing Authority will pay her rent and utilities once she finds a place but offers no assistance with moving or the cost to move/store belongings (understandable).
On Monday, a group of amazing C&P community members will be moving her belongings out and setting up a storage unit for her. This is how the money raised from GoFundMe and cash donations will be used.
We need boxes, Rubbermaid tubs you’re willing to part with, anything to pack up an apartment. If you are available Monday to help us move stuff with a truck, please contact me as soon as possible. If you know of an apartment Joanie can rent (section 8), please contact me. firstname.lastname@example.org
West Seattle, you’re amazing! I know this community can help one of our own that is so unexpectedly displaced.
C & P is at 5612 California SW and is open until 9 tonight, and 7 am-7 pm on Sunday.
(UPDATED 11:11 AM with new info from SFD, and aftermath photo)
(Added 2:50 am: Video courtesy Monika)
FIRST REPORT, 1:04 AM: Seattle Fire is sending a “full response” to California/Juneau for a report of a possible apartment fire. More as we get it.
1:07 AM: The first units on scene report a “working fire” that appears to be on the exterior of the three-story apartment building.
1:13 AM: The log has updated this to 5656 California SW [map], which is the Green Acres complex, the only three-story building at that intersection. Firefighters have water on the fire. A second alarm has been called. Most if not all of California is blocked, too.
1:25 AM: Our crew has arrived and confirms California is blocked. The damage is visible on the southeast side of the building, as you can see in the first photo we’ve added. No word of any injuries so far. Firefighters are still working to check whether the fire spread into the building anywhere.
1:43 AM: Fire’s not out yet but SFD says it’s under control and confirms no injuries are reported. Firefighters have been working on ventilation to deal with the fire reportedly having spread into the attic.
SFD’s public-information officer has arrived. The Red Cross is being called to help the residents.
2 AM: PIO Kristin Tinsley just briefed us and citywide media. (Video of briefing added 2:50 am)
No word on the fire’s cause yet but it’s believed to have started on the first floor and spread up. At least six units are damaged. Fire’s now reported to be out, but SFD is expected to keep a presence at the scene for some time on “fire watch.” Side note: You might recall a big SFD response to the same building almost six months ago – that one turned out to be just a kitchen fire.
2:32 AM: The fire forced pet evacuations as well as people, above, that’s Kona the bulldog, with Kona’s people, whose apartment is one of those damaged. More info later when there are official updates on cause and damage.
11:11 AM: SFD says the cause is “undetermined” and damage totals more than $500,000. We just went back over for this photo:
We should also note that, as SFD mentions, West Seattle Church of the Nazarene across the street (42nd/Juneau) opened its doors early this morning so the evacuated residents had someplace to go.
12:58 PM: More news of helping – C & P Coffee Company (5612 California SW; WSB sponsor) is in the same block as the building and says it’s donating tips and has a fundraiser going for the fire victims:
10:23 AM: A Seattle Fire “full response” is on its way to a possible house fire in the 4100 block of SW Monroe in Gatewood.
10:27 AM: Most of the SFD units have been canceled, with the fire having been a small exterior fire, per scanner, but police are on scene, our crew reports upon arrival, and we’re hearing a medic unit being dispatched for someone believed to be ill/injured.
12:35 PM: Police investigators are still on scene, looking at both a vehicle that was up on the home’s lawn and at the area that’s possibly where the small fire started. We’ll be checking back with SPD later this afternoon to see if there’s an update.
5:35 AM: Thanks for the tips. The helicopter you might have heard over White Center/South Delridge was TV, checking out a fire call on 16th in downtown WC, just south of Roxbury. West Seattle fire units were dispatched for mutual aid for a while. We have a crew checking it out.
5:52 AM: What caught fire was a refrigerated truck trailer parked by a building at 15th/SW 98th that firefighters also say sustained damage. No injuries. Power’s out because lines were involved. (The TV helicopter has long since moved on to something else elsewhere in the region.)
6:13 AM: Added photos. Metro says buses that use 15th SW in the area might be affected; fire trucks were still blocking that street when we left a few minutes ago – we’ll be going back after sunrise for a closer look.
9:58 AM: The investigation continues:
In the photo above, you can see the blackened area where the fire spread to the building by which the trailer was parked.
4:26 AM: The fire is described via radio communications as “well-involved” on at least one side of the house – mostly exterior but partly extended into the house’s kitchen.
4:38 AM: The fire also is reported to have extended into the attic. Two more engines have been requested. Our crew is just arriving.
4:51 AM: This is not yet under control, firefighters have radioed, and our crew verifies they’re continuing to haul more hoses toward the house; they’re also reporting roof collapse on a shed-type structure behind the main house. No injuries reported so far, and they’re dismissing a medic unit.
4:56 AM: Now it’s been declared under control.
5:07 AM: … now “tapped” in both structures, and they’re calling for the investigator to find out how this started.
5:29 AM: That official determination won’t come until later this morning, but SFD spokesperson Capt. Shata Stephenson just talked with us at the scene and says the fire appears to have started toward the back of the house, which actually has two non-residential structures behind it, and the one with the roof collapse is the one all the way at the rear of the lot. (added – video from his briefing)
Two people were home at the time, both checked out for possible smoke inhalation, but both found to be OK. We’ve also confirmed that the address is 4737 26th SW. Crews will be here at least another hour, so you’ll want to avoid 26th SW – which is an official greenway – in this area.
10:35 AM: SFD says the fire was accidental, started by a candle; damage totals $150,000 to the structure, $100,000 to contents.
8:06 PM: A “full response” is headed to a possible house fire at Delridge and Holden.
8:12 PM: First units on scene noted smoke. But it’s not a major fire – most of the units are being dismissed. We’ll find out more once our photographer is on scene.
8:21 PM: SFD tells us this started with trees/shrubbery catching fire – they’re not sure how, but it’s so dry, it doesn’t take much. @drewhamlet tweeted this photo:
The flames spread to a fence and the siding of a condo building but it’s all extinguished now, and no one was hurt.
4:03 PM: SFD has quickly extinguished what was described as a wall fire at a house in the 8100 block of Delridge Way SW. No injuries reported.
5:37 PM UPDATE: Added photos from WSB’s Christopher Boffoli, who says firefighters weren’t certain how this started, but it appeared to have originated on the outside of the wall.
— WSDOT Traffic (@wsdot_traffic) August 4, 2017
(Added: Video tweeted by @WSDOT_Traffic)
Thanks to the person who texted about this – Seattle Fire now has a big response headed to a brush fire reported along southbound Highway 509, south of Cloverdale. They’re also checking out the top of the slope along Myers Way.
5:44 AM: SFD describes the house as small and “boarded up.” Firefighters spotted a hole in the floor so they are fighting the fire “defensively” – from outside. Avoid that area of Delridge, as it’s an extensive response, blocking the road.
5:54 AM: Our crew is there; we’ve added a photo. It’s the same house that had a fire back in May, and a deadly fire three years earlier. No word of injuries in this fire so far; firefighters report it’s under control. Note that the address on the SFD log right now is NOT accurate – 9226 is the address for the auto shop to the south, which is NOT involved.
6:04 AM: Some of the SFD units are being dismissed. No one inside, no one hurt, so far as firefighters have determined (update: as of a few minute later, they’re searching again). SFD’s investigator has been summoned to find the fire’s cause. Metro Route 128 is being rerouted, according to an alert just texted/tweeted.
6:27 AM: Route 60 is rerouted too. Meantime, our crew is back and we’ve added another photo. We’ve checked the property’s history, in light of the multiple fires; no complaints listed since 2015, and no redevelopment plans on file.
7:15 AM: Metro says buses are back to regular routes.
12:15 PM: SFD spokesperson Lt. Sue Stangl tells WSB the fire investigator could not determine what caused today’s fire, so it will remain officially “undetermined.”
7:23 PM: We’re on our way to the 3700 block of SW Thistle for a house-fire response. More to come.
7:25 PM: First firefighters to arrive say they’re seeing smoke from the basement, and that everyone is out OK.
7:31 PM: We’re just arriving. Thistle is blocked off by fire units west of 35th SW – and side streets are blocked by Night Out parties. Via radio exchanges, we’re hearing this is an “appliance fire” and it’s tapped. No injuries reported.
7:43 PM: Much of the initial big response is being dismissed, now that this is winding down. Neighbor Mike shared this video of the first SFD personnel on the scene:
MONDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: SFD says it was an accidental fire, caused by a malfunctioning battery charger, and that damage to contents and structure totaled $20,000.
Just in case you heard all the sirens a short time ago and wondered – what was a relatively sizable Seattle Fire dispatch to the 3000 block of SW Raymond in High Point was downsized quickly when a kitchen fire (according to radio communication) turned out to be nothing more than that. One engine was kept on the call.
P.S. Likely unrelated but we also got a text asking about a burning smell in the Admiral area. No other fire calls working anywhere in the city right now, so that one’s a mystery.
Last Sunday afternoon, we reported on a house fire in Highland Park, in the 8100 block of 14th SW. No one was hurt, but it turns out the damage was greater than first assessed, and the longtime West Seattle resident and Denny International Middle School employee who lived there has lost most of his belongings, as well as a place to live, so a family friend has organized a crowdfunding page for community members to help. Michelle Whelan explains:
Lifelong West Seattleite Roger Baker, or “Mr. Baker” as he’s known to students at Denny Middle School, recently lost his house and most of his belongings to an electrical fire. The home had been in the Baker family for about 40 years and … is essentially a total loss due to internal damage and the prohibitively expensive cost to rebuild.
This is the same home Roger returned to 20 years ago help care for his ailing parents. In 2009 he obtained his current position as custodian at Denny MS. In the intervening years, while also working full time, Roger helped provide elder care for his parents — driving them to and from appointments, family events, and taking care of the home. His mother passed away several years ago, followed by his father more recently.
The Baker family, tribal members of the Turtle Mountain band of Chippewa, has deep, longstanding roots in West Seattle. Multi-generational graduates of West Seattle schools, the Bakers are a strong and close-knit family…which makes Roger’s loss all the more upsetting as he no longer has a place to live.
There’s even more to the story, which you can read on the GoFundMe page, which also has post-fire photos of the house’s interior. (SFD says the fire was accidental, sparked by a battery charger.) The GFM page also has details on non-monetary donations that would be helpful as well.
12:23 PM: Seattle Fire is on the scene of a house fire in the 8100 block of 14th SW. We’re on the way to find out more.
12:23 PM: We’re arriving in the area. Firefighters are still searching the house to be sure everyone is out OK. SFD is asking for more backup.
12:37 PM: Firefighters report the fire is knocked down “in the wall” of this 2-story house – we’re not seeing any more smoke – but are checking to be sure it didn’t extend to the rest of the house. No injuries reported so far; we hope to talk to the incident commander soon to confirm.
12:48 PM: Firefighters tell us no one was home when this started; the neighbors called it in. It was confined to the wall. They confirm, no injuries. Some of the crews are being dismissed.
6:02 AM: Seattle Fire crews are heading to the
3200 block of 42nd SW for a possible house fire. The first crews arriving report seeing smoke from the back of a house. Updates to come.
6:07 AM: SFD has updated the location to 3200 block of 41st SW [map].
6:14 AM: Crews are fighting the fire, which is reported to be in the attic. So far, everyone is reported to be safely out of the house.
6:24 AM: SFD reports the fire is under control.
6:33 AM: The flames flared up in the attic but are now reported to be again under control. We’re adding photos as we get them from our crew at the scene.
6:49 AM: The response is starting to wind down. One resident was treated for minor injuries. SFD’s investigator is on the way to look into how the fire started, and that information won’t be available until later (we’ll update when it is). So far, we’re told at the scene that it appears to have started on the exterior and spread to the attic.
6:57 AM: The fire has just been declared “tapped” and some of the units are leaving the scene.
12:38 PM: SFD’s report on the cause: “Fire investigators ruled the fire as accidental, and determined the cause was from discarded smoking materials. The estimated loss to the structure is $150,000 and contents is $50,000.”
1:41 AM: Seattle Fire is sending a “full response” to a reported house fire in the 8100 block of 30th SW [map]. It is reported to have started as a deck fire, and everyone is reported to have gotten out OK.
1:44 AM: The first units on scene say it’s under control, and they’re downsizing the response.
1:58 AM: The fire is reported to be out. We’ll check on the cause later this morning.
4:50 PM: SFD spokesperson Kristin Tinsley tells WSB, “The fire was ruled unintentional. A barbecue ignited nearby combustibles.”
6:41 PM: The photo is from WSB’s Christopher Boffoli, who is at the scene of a sizable Seattle Fire response for a garage fire in the 2600 block of 50th SW [map].
6:48 PM: Update – the fire is tapped, SFD tells Christopher at the scene. No injuries, and no information yet on how it started.
7:05 PM: As for damage, Christopher says there wasn’t a vehicle in the detached garage, but what he described as a charred canoe was visible. The fire did not spread to the house. SFD’s fire marshal is investigating.
9:21 PM: More photos added, including the two below in which, once the fire was out, firefighters explained their gear to a curious young neighborhood resident:
We’ll check tomorrow on the final report about the fire’s cause.
ADDED 9:22 AM WEDNESDAY: According to SFD spokesperson Kristin Tinsley, “Fire investigators ruled this fire as accidental and determined the cause was from smoking material discarded into a garbage can. Estimated loss is $20,000.”
A big initial response is now being downsized for a reported brush fire near Southwest Teen Life Center/SW Pool at 28th SW/SW Thistle. The fire report is concurrent with a fireworks report to which police were dispatched. It’s the third brush fire reported in West Seattle in about an hour – firefighters also have responded to reports in High Point and South Admiral.
(Added: Photo by Carolyn Newman – firefighters aboard fireboat Leschi, off Seacrest)
7:16 AM: Seattle Fire was sending a big land-and-sea response to a possible tugboat fire off Seacrest but has just canceled the land response – the fire is believed to be out – a fireboat will continue heading that way.
7:23 AM: Per scanner, the tugboat, identified as the Westrac, is actually on the Duwamish River, “near Ash Grove Cement.” (MarineTraffic.com verifies that as well.)
10:24 AM: Once this was all sorted out, it was a shore fire handled BY the tugboat, as explained in comments. (We are also following up with SFD.)
10:41 AM: SFD adds, “The fire boat remained on scene to confirm the location and situation. They found evidence of a small rubbish fire that had occurred on a metal barge.”
7:35 AM: Seattle Fire has sent a full response to an apartment building in the 7100 block of California SW [map]. First crews on scene say they’re seeing smoke.
(Added: Photo tweeted by @katelynchowell)
It’s reported to have started as a grease fire.
7:43 AM: The fire is reported to be under control.
7:56 AM: The fire is tapped. California remains closed between just north of Myrtle and just north of Orchard. No injuries reported.
8:05 AM: Some units are being dismissed. SPD is directing traffic.
9:59 AM: California is open again. We have followup questions out to SFD and will update this story when the answers are in.