UPDATE: Man hospitalized after fire on 44th SW in The Junction; investigators blame ‘dried Christmas tree’February 28, 2015 at 3:14 am | In West Seattle fires, West Seattle news | 27 Comments
(UPDATED 10:15 AM with SFD announcement of fire’s cause)
(Added: Photo texted by Amanda L.)
3:14 AM: Seattle Fire is sending a “full response” to what’s described as a house near 44th/Genesee (map) on the north end of The Junction, and first units on site are reporting flames. There’s also word someone is hurt. More to come.
(This photo and next by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
3:32 AM: We’re at the scene. The fire is under control, according to an update monitored via scanner. Very smoky here, and 44th SW is full of emergency vehicles starting immediately north of SW Oregon. Commenters who live nearby are saying they heard an explosion type of sound right before the fire. More firefighters are continuing to arrive, some pulling up just south of Oregon.
3:44 AM: For those asking, we’ve confirmed it’s the address on the SFD log, 4411 44th SW. It’s a multi-family, two-story building (update: property records describe it as a 4-plex).
3:50 AM: No word yet on the condition of the person who was being checked out, nor on the cause. But Lt. Sue Stangl is here as public-information officer and so we’ll be able to get a briefing before too long.
(On-scene command center; photo by Diakonda Gurning)
The fire marshal (investigator) is en route.
4:00 AM: Lt. Stangl tells us smoke/fire was visible from three of the four sides of the building when firefighters first arrived. The man who was hurt has been taken to Harborview Medical Center, with burns and smoke inhalation; he told SFD he was the only person inside when the fire started. We’ll add video of her briefing when we’re back at HQ shortly (update: it’s below):
She says firefighters have no information yet on what might have caused the reported “boom.”
4:25 AM: Some of the responding units are being dismissed as the operation winds down. People evacuated from a building immediately behind this one will be allowed back in. We’ve added a photo atop the story, texted by Amanda L. (thank you!), showing the flames.
4:55 AM: Still investigating, per the photo tweet below from SFD:
Fire investigators work to determine cause of West Sea house fire that sent 1 man to HMC in critical condition. pic.twitter.com/o1naQLRtnX
— Seattle Fire Dept (@SeattleFire) February 28, 2015
10:15 AM: Via Twitter, an update from SFD: “Early morning WS house fire determined accidental. $150K loss to structure, $10K loss to contents. Dried Xmas tree too close to fireplace.” We just went by for a daylight look:
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) February 23, 2015
9:11 AM: In case you’re wondering about the big fire response headed for Harbor Island, they’re checking out a possible fire at a business in the 3400 block of 13th SW. The first unit on the scene reports “light smoke” coming from a metal building. More as we get it.
9:16 AM: The fire has been “knocked down,” per scanner. But there’s word a firefighter has been hurt.
9:42 AM: More reinforcements have been called to the fire scene, including ventilation. No official update yet about the injured firefighter, but SFD’s public-information officer was headed to the scene too, so we should have word soon. The SFD response is right by the entrance to Harbor Island when you leave the low bridge and circle around on Klickitat, so avoid the area if you can.
9:47 AM: Update from SFD’s Kyle Moore – A firefighter in his 30s has been taken to Harborview with second-degree leg burns after stepping into what turned out to be (updated) boiling water or metal; also, a worker in his 30s was “splattered with materials” and will be taken by private ambulance to be checked out further. (There was concern earlier about “volatile” materials in the furnace.)
9:56 AM: The fire is now described as “tapped.” Some units are being dismissed from the scene.
10:44 AM: We’ve added two more photos as well as video of what Moore told us at the scene – the photo above this line shows the MVU (mobile ventilation unit) he mentioned.
ADDED 2:24 PM: SFD has just published a full update on its website. The firefighter who was hurt suffered 1st- and 2nd-degree burns, SFD’s update says, and will be moved overnight to the Harborview burn it; he’s been with the department since 2006 and is based at North Delridge’s Station 36. What happened to him is explained as:
The firefighter manning a hose line in the smoky building stepped into a two-foot deep slag pit that is designed to catch molten metal. The unmarked and unsecured pit was full of boiling water. The boiling water made its way into the firefighter’s boots causing 1st and 2nd degree burns to his lower legs. A Mayday was called and fellow firefighters quickly rescued the injured co-worker.
The injured worker who suffered “spot burns” is described as in stable condition. And investigators say the fire “was accidental, caused by a failure in the induction furnace,” with damage estimated at $85,000.
8:41 PM: If you’ve noticed a sizable fire response headed for the 4500 block of West Marginal Way SW, Seattle Fire is responding to a report of at least one bus on fire in the bus yard/maintenance facility there. No traffic effects since the yard/garage is set back from the road. More as we get it.
8:48 PM: Monitored via scanner – firefighters have just described the fire as “knocked down.”
9:28 PM: Just back from the vicinity. Didn’t get close to the bus that caught fire but a wisp of smoke was still visible from West Marginal. SFD’s investigator has arrived to look into how the fire started. No injuries reported.
MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: SFD says the fire started in the engine compartment of a private bus at the maintenance facility, and that damage is estimated at $40,000.
6:15 PM: Seattle Fire is arriving at a 6-story apartment building in the 1500 block of Alki to check out a possible fire. More to come.
6:21 PM: Not a full-blown fire; some SFD units have already been dismissed.
6:30 PM: SFD tells us at the scene, just a fireplace fire gone a bit out of control with smoke and embers. Everyone’s OK and this is wrapping up.
(Photo courtesy Kyle Moore)
8:09 PM: Seattle Fire crews are checking out a possible fire in apartments in the 9400 block of 27th SW, on the north side of SW Roxbury. So far they’re not finding any sign of fire but possibly some smoke smell in one of the hallways.
8:39 PM UPDATE: We went over to check; that’s all it’s amounted to, so far – smoke, but no fire. Someone activated the fire alarm, firefighters tell us, but then apparently left the building and couldn’t be found for further inquiry. Police have the outer westbound lane on Roxbury blocked right before 27th while SFD is still on scene.
9:03 PM UPDATE: Update from SFD spokesperson Kyle Moore – smoldering food in a kitchen turned out to be the source of the smoke. Everyone’s been allowed back in, and SFD has cleared the scene, closing the call.
(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
5:09 PM: Sizable Seattle Fire response right now for a car fire reported in the underground garage by the Admiral Bartell Drugs. Per scanner, the sprinkler system has it under control and ventilation is the big concern now. More to come.
(Photo courtesy Ted Johnson)
5:36 PM UPDATE: Our crew at the scene says one car was involved and the fire didn’t spread to others. Lots of water on the floor inside the garage because of the sprinklers. Nobody hurt.
(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
9:13 AM: Big Seattle Fire response at the McDonald’s in Admiral (3003 California SW), but our crew on the scene says it’s not a major problem – the smoke that led to fire concern was apparently sparked by mechanical trouble, possibly with the HVAC system. Some of the crews have been dismissed already. More to come.
9:20 AM: Just heard over the scanner – “this is smoke from a properly operating cooking exhaust system.” All but one engine will be leaving. (added) Our crew says SFD is allowing everyone back in, and the restaurant’s open for business.
12:59 AM: What started as a house-fire response near 24th/Thistle in Westwood appears to have become a car-fire call. Firefighters are checking to be sure it hasn’t spread to the structure. More to come.
1:15 AM: Our crew at the scene was told by SFD that the fire started in a vehicle in a carport and also scorched a boat parked nearby, but didn’t spread to the house. No one is hurt.
1:36 AM: Photo added.
(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
1:58 PM: Another major Seattle Fire callout – this time at an apartment building in the 3600 block of SW Genesee (map). “Tapped” within minutes, according to radio report from the first units on scene, but we’re on our way to check.
2:26 PM UPDATE: It was a kitchen fire, but it spread briefly to some yarn (or similar material) in the cabinets by the stove, according to what firefighters told us at the scene, so it was very smoky, and that’s left them with a lot of ventilating to do. No injuries reported.
Big Seattle Fire response to a possible fire at a house in the 5600 block of 21st SW (map), but it was just a case of “food on the stove,” according to the first arrivals – cooking-oil flare-up, out fast. Most of the responding units are being canceled.
12:57 AM: A big Seattle Fire response is arriving at the 3900 block of SW Holden in Gatewood (map). It was described as a suspected roof fire; first units arriving aren’t seeing anything.
1 AM: They’re checking the attic, but report that it might just be “an overheated light fixture.” Some of the arriving units are being canceled.
1:09 AM: They’re now checking to be sure there’s not a smoldering fire in the ceiling.
1:11 AM: Minutes later, that’s what they’ve found, a small “smoldering fire in insulation … knob and tube wiring.”
1:19 AM: They’ve re-assessed the fire at 3′ x 3′ and declared it “under control.”
(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
10:04 PM: A fire call in the 7000 block of Highland Park Way SW has been upgraded to “fire in building” after starting at a less-serious designation. The address checks to Pioneer Industries, just uphill from West Marginal Way SW. We’re working to find out more.
10:09 PM: Via scanner, it’s being described as some kind of “industrial problem” inside the building that will have to be handled through the roof. Since it’s an industrial building, they’re trying to assess the risk before making further decisions how to deal with it.
10:32 PM: Highland Park Way hill is closed because of this, so it took us a bit to get here. It’s been described in radio communications as “overheated (equipment) with some roof char.” Light smoke in the building but no flames. No injuries reported. Some fire units are being cleared from the scene as this ramps down.
10:58 PM: Back from the scene (adding photos shortly) – our crew was told that the overheated equipment was a “heating element.” Ventilation of the building was the remaining task; in addition to doing that through the roof, SFD also had called in the MVU (mobile ventilation unit). Meantime, HP Way hill is reopening both ways, except for one downhill lane.
11:34 PM: All lanes reported open again.
Two Seattle Fire updates: Medic response at Westwood Village this morning; what caused Beach Drive fire on SaturdayDecember 4, 2014 at 12:15 pm | In West Seattle fires, West Seattle news | 1 Comment
Two updates from the Seattle Fire Department:
MAN COLLAPSES AT WESTWOOD VILLAGE: Teresa e-mailed about frantic efforts to assist a man who had collapsed at Westwood Village early this morning, near the Starbucks store. We asked SFD spokesperson Kyle Moore, who says the 55-year-old man collapsed in the parking lot while either headed to or from the nearby 24-Hour Fitness gym: “A citizen witnessed the collapse and immediately started CPR. Firefighters arrived and continued CPR for an hour. Also, they used the AED multiple times to get a heart rhythm. Medics transported the patient to Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.”
FOLLOWUP ON SATURDAY’S APARTMENT FIRE: When we checked with SFD on Monday, they still didn’t know what had caused the Saturday fire that gutted a waterfront apartment in the 3800 block of Beach Drive; we published this followup, including a request from one resident to help her daughter find a new place to live. Today we’ve learned from spokesperson Moore that SFD has ruled the fire accidental, “caused by combustibles placed too close to an electrical baseboard heater.” We also have learned that two firefighters from Engine 29 were injured – previously, one injury was mentioned; their injuries are described as “minor burns.” As reported Monday, damage totaled $180,000. With the update, Moore also offered a link about fire safety for apartments – see it here.
(Saturday photo courtesy of Michelle)
We’re following up today on the big fire that gutted a unit at a waterfront apartment building in the 3800 block of Beach Drive this past Saturday (WSB coverage here):
FIRE’S CAUSE: Seattle Fire spokesperson Kyle Moore tells WSB that investigators still have not determined how it started.
FIREFIGHTER’S CONDITION: As reported on Saturday, a firefighter had to go to the hospital Saturday for treatment of unspecified injuries. Moore says he was treated and released the same day.
FAMILY’S REQUEST: Kindhearted community members asked in comments here (and in the neighborhood) if they could do anything to help the family whose apartment was gutted. Patricia, who lived there with daughter Amanda, says there is ONE thing they do need help with:
Thank you so much for everyone’s concern and offers of help. We are truly blessed at the response of both friends and strangers to this disaster. We are doing well and have temporary housing, and mom has a permanent place coming up, but what is really needed right now is long-term housing for my 27-year-old daughter who was staying with me at the time of the fire and also lost absolutely everything. She works in West Seattle and needs a long-term, affordable place to live. If anybody has any ideas, that would be greatly appreciated! Thank you again for the outpouring of support… It means everything at a time like this! I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Red Cross was called in to help the family right after the fire; here’s an explanation of how that works.
(SCROLL DOWN for newest information)
(1st, 2nd, 4th photos by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
3:10 PM: Big Seattle Fire response to an apartment building in the 3800 block of Beach Drive (map), and the first units say they’re seeing flames. More to come.
3:18 PM: Firefighters are reporting that one unit of the
three-story 12-unit building is fully involved in flames. (added) You can see it in this photo tweeted by Vanessa:
— Vanessa Fox (@vanessafox) November 29, 2014
That view is looking at the burning waterfront unit from nearby Harbor West, the condo building on pilings over the water, south of Cormorant Cove Park. So far, no word of any injuries.
3:37 PM: Radio communications indicate firefighters have searched the building and so far it appears everyone got out OK. Seattle Fire’s public-information officer is headed there, so our crew at the scene will get a full update before too long.
3:48 PM: Thanks to Tracy Dart for the view just above this line, with one of the ladder trucks summoned to the scene. Our crew says there’s no more smoke, but as you can also see in Tracy’s view, the response is so big, Beach Drive will remain closed for a while. Via the scanner, we’re hearing firefighters declaring the fire “tapped”; they’re trying to get a Metro bus so that the people who can’t get into their units will have someplace warm to wait. Our crew talked to residents who say they’re waiting to hear if and when they’ll be able to get back into the units that were not involved in the fire.
4:09 PM: The briefing at the scene was given by Fire Chief Gregory Dean (video added):
He says a firefighter was hurt and taken to a hospital – he didn’t have details on the nature of the injury. Otherwise, everyone who lived at the building is believed to have gotten out OK, including at least three dogs. Too soon to know how the fire started. Some of the units are being dismissed from the scene now that the operation is winding down.
(Added: Photo courtesy Michelle)
4:31 PM: SFD spokesperson Kyle Moore is there too and tells us the firefighter’s injuries are minor. The building has 12 units; 7 people and 4 dogs were home when this started, he says, confirming all got out OK.
5:17 PM: More post-fire logistics at the scene, per scanner: They’ll be keeping a fire watch with a crew at the scene in case of flareups; the Red Cross is being called to help the unit’s residents and their dog; there’s a call out to get the road sanded so residual water from the firefight doesn’t create an ice hazard.
9:06 PM: We don’t know yet how the fire started. But we have one more view of the scene, shared by artist Joshua Boulet, who lives nearby:
That is one of two sketches he made; you can see the other on his website.
9:55 PM: An update from SFD – they still don’t know the cause, but damage totaled $180,000. Everyone was able to go back into their apartments but the people living on the beach level, where the fire was.
12:31 AM: Our crew will be there shortly. Firefighters say they’re seeing flames from the attic. They also say a resident of the house told them everyone has gotten out OK.
12:35 AM: Firefighters report having searched both floors of the house to make extra-sure no one’s inside, and “all clear” so far.
12:41 AM: Just heard from our crew on scene. Small house, just north of the 35th/Morgan U-Haul’s west side. Lots of smoke. Bit of flame visible. Via scanner, we’ve heard firefighters declare it under control.
12:59 AM: They’re calling for the Red Cross to assist the home’s residents. Our crew says the fire marshal (investigator) is just arriving, so it’s too soon to say how this started. SFD confirms that no one was hurt and says they’re expecting to have a “fire watch” at the scene all night in case of flare-ups.
1:26 AM: Some of the SFD units have been dismissed from the scene. Meantime, our crew is back and we are adding several photos, as well as substituting one for the previously published cameraphone photo that had been atop this story.
10:35 AM UPDATE: SFD’s Lt. Harold Webb says the fire’s cause was determined to be “accidental/electrical.” (Radio discussion during the firefight had included a mention of knob-and-tubing wiring in the 96-year-old house.) No dollar estimate for the damage so far.
2:53 AM: A big callout for a potential house fire in the 4800 block of Beach Drive. First crew on scene sees “light smoke.” More to come.
2:56 AM: Most of the units are being canceled – this turned out to be, according to communications between fire crews and dispatch, “small kitchen fire, (extinguished) by occupant.”
1:16 PM: Just in case you saw the big fire callout in the 5200 block of SW Andover (map) this past half-hour and wondered about it – our crew reports it was a kitchen problem, generally described by firefighters as “food on the stove,” and is wrapping up.
4:25 PM: Commenters say it actually turned out to be electrical. We won’t be able to get a final report from SFD until Monday.
MONDAY UPDATE: SFD spokesperson Kyle Moore confirms that while it was a kitchen problem, as commenters noted, it did not turn out to be a cooking problem. He also says the smoke detector made a big difference:
We were dispatched at 12:59 p.m. to 5227 SW Andover St for reports of a fire in the kitchen. It turned out it was a dishwasher fire that extended to the kitchen cabinets. The occupant was home alone asleep and woke to to the smoke detectors going off and evacuated. Firefighters contained the fire to the kitchen. Minor fire damage but there was smoke damage inside the house. There were no injuries.
Big Seattle Fire response checking out a possible “fire in building” in the 6500 block of California SW. More to come.
UPDATE: False alarm, apparently – it closed quickly.
(WSB photos by Torin Record-Sand)
Today, firefighters from Station 37 in Sunrise Heights came to High Point Branch Library to read “No Dragons for Tea” to preschoolers and to explain basic rules of fire safety. They opened the reading with news that Engine 37 will be replaced soon by a newer fire engine. More on that shortly. First: Brian Shaner read for the storytime today.
Other firefighters from Station 37 – Lt. Paul Adams, Jorge Bernal, and Tiffany Colman – were present for the reading. After reading, Bernal suited up to introduce the children to what a fully suited firefighter looks like.
The goal of this part of the presentation is to help kids know, if they ever are in an emergency situation and come face to face with a suited-up firefighter, that they shouldn’t be scared.
After about 25 minutes, everyone was invited to take a tour of Engine 37, which was parked outside the library.
We asked SFD spokesperson Kyle Moore later about the replacement plan for E-37. He confirmed: “Station 37 is getting a new, larger engine before Christmas. The new Engine 37 will have a modern cleaner-burning engine with additional safety features but the same pumping capacity. The older engine will be turned into a reserve engine.” E-37 is one of three that SFD is replacing, he added, along with E-35 in Ballard and E-20 in Queen Anne/Interbay.
1:27 PM: Avoid 9th SW/SW Henderson vicinity in south Highland Park for a while; roads are blocked as emergency responders deal with what was reported as a power-pole fire. We’re heading over to look.
2:31 PM UPDATE: 9th is closed at Henderson and at Trenton. We were told at the scene that City Light will have to replace the pole, so the closure might last a while. No outage reported, though.
2:53 PM: STREET CLOSED signs are now arriving in the area, more proof it’ll be a while – with 9th closed from Barton to Trenton, Henderson closed east of 10th.
3:07 PM: Scanner-monitored discussion indicates the closure will constrict back to 9th/Henderson.
8:35 PM: We just stopped by the scene. 9th isn’t blocked, but Henderson is, and police/utility crews there say they will likely be working “a few more hours.” The new pole is up but now it’s time for connecting, testing, etc. – and they’re working in rain and wind.
9:34 PM: A full “fire in building” response is headed to The Kenney (WSB sponsor) at 7125 Fauntleroy Way SW right now. The initial report is that a chair is on fire in a room there.
9:40 PM: Firefighters have since amended that to “food on the stove.” No injuries reported. Not even enough smoke to require extra ventilation, according to scanner discussion. But we’re headed over to doublecheck.
9:54 PM: Our crew’s just back from checking at the scene to verify that everyone’s OK – they are, and the remaining fire crews have packed up and left.
(WSB photo: SFD crews before they wrapped up & left scene)
First report: Seattle Fire is arriving at an apartment building in the 6700 block of Murray SW (map) to check out a possible fire. More to come.
Update: Kitchen fire – “food on stove” – and already tapped.
10:12 PM: We’ve confirmed at the scene, that’s all it was.
2:09 PM: A car fire has SFD and SPD at Avalon/Genesee right now, and we’ve heard that buses are being diverted. (added) Just passed 35th/Avalon – north/eastbound traffic is blocked there.
2:18 PM: Westbound traffic is blocked just past Genesee. 1964 VW Bug had an engine fire. No injuries. Road shouldn’t be closed too much longer.
(First three photos by WSB’s Christopher Boffoli)
1:59 PM: Seattle Fire response is arriving at a “fire in building” response in the 2700 block of California. That’s just across from Hiawatha – sounds like the response is in the alley behind the building, so we’re not sure until we get there how traffic is being affected.
2:08 PM: Police are being sent for traffic control on California, so definitely avoid the area – which is of course a busy one, with Safeway and Lafayette to the north. No word of any injuries so far. It continues to be described as “44th Avenue” on the scanner, despite California on the 911 log, so that street is likely affected too.
2:13 PM: SFD says the fire’s in a garage. Per the scanner, it’s just been declared “tapped.”
2:23 PM: Added photos; we have two crews there. SFD confirms no one hurt. This was centered at the back (off the alley between 44th and California) of the building that includes a martial-arts studio. And if you’re hearing/seeing a helicopter, it’s just TV.
2:38 PM: Lafayette Elementary, just north of the block where this fire happened, gets out at 3:40 pm, an hour from now.
Too soon to say how much SFD equipment will still be there, but if you have to go pick up your child, please be aware of this incident disrupting normal walking/driving/riding patterns, especially on the west side of California/Lander.
(Photo by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
Meantime, our crews at the scene are told that much of the damage was in the aforementioned garage (photo added above); no vehicle in there, apparently, but lots of items including appliances.
3:27 PM: We went back to check on traffic. It’s moving again. But one important note – the Evergreen Tang Soo Do martial-arts studio tells us they will NOT have classes for the rest of the day/night; the studio was affected by smoke from the fire.
(Added: Photo, courtesy of Jason)
7:48 PM: Traffic alert for the east end of Roxbury – Seattle Fire crews are handling a “car fire” call at Olson/3rd (map) that’s described on the scanner as a “taxicab on fire.” Not sure how it’s affecting traffic yet, but we’re checking it out.
8:04 PM: Fire’s out. Affected the front end of a cab that’s in the outside lane of the uphill (southwestward) side of the Olson hill, so traffic headed toward White Center is affected more than downhill/outbound. No injuries reported.
(WSB photos, added 2:58 am)
1:59 AM: Now Seattle Fire is at the scene of a reported “room fire” inside what sounds like one of the vacated buildings at the future 3210 California development site (former Cayce/Gain offices). More to come.
2:24 AM UPDATE: We are at the scene. Fire out, no injuries. It *was* in the back of the vacant, awaiting-demolition ex-Cayce/Gain/Cometa building. No cause yet and no one will speculate on any connection to those earlier dumpster fires a few blocks north. Many of the units are leaving, but the street will be blocked a while longer.
10:30 AM Police now say via SPD Blotter that they are indeed investigating this fire and two Dumpster fires as arson and are seeking tips.
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