(SCROLL DOWN for updates, including police joining investigation)
4:40 AM UPDATE: At least one person is reported to be hurt, and crews are calling for more medics.
4:47 AM UPDATE: It’s not a big fire – but especially for a multifamily building, it’s SOP to send a sizable response just in case. Per scanner, it’s tapped/under control. Our crew should be on scene shortly.
5:02 AM UPDATE: Our crew says the fire was in a top-floor apartment. Working to find out more about the person found, injured, in that apartment. (added) SFD spokesperson Kyle Moore will be briefing media at the scene shortly.
5:25 AM UPDATE: There’s a reason we hadn’t heard a condition for the person described as a “victim” – Moore says that person found in the burning apartment was dead. That’s the only apartment damaged by fire, but others were affected by smoke, and the Red Cross has been called in to help one person.
5:48 AM UPDATE: Moore describes the person found dead in the burning bedroom as an adult woman. As you’ll hear in the video of Moore’s briefing (above), SFD’s investigator is working to find out how and exactly where the fire started. The apartment had a sprinkler, Moore said, but it was in the hallway, not the bedroom. It will be up to the Medical Examiner to determine how the woman died – whether from the fire, or something else.
8:55 AM UPDATE: Police are now at the scene – including CSI investigators – and yellow crime-scene tape is up.
Seattle Police spokesperson Det. Renée Witt says SFD investigators asked SPD to check out the scene “out of an abundance of caution” just to make sure they weren’t missing anything.
So far, she says she doesn’t know what they have or have not found, but there has not yet been any ruling whether this was or wasn’t a homicide, and the cause of death has not yet been determined by the Medical Examiner.
4:33 PM UPDATE: We’ve been checking, but still no updated information from investigators in either department.
7:15 PM UPDATE: We’ve talked to SW Precinct Ops. Lt. Ron Smith at the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council. He says ATF went to the scene today as well but that there is still no official finding about whether this was a crime or not, but it is certainly “suspicious.”
If you’re hearing the sirens and/or seeing the Seattle Fire units – false alarm; it’s just a barbecue that apparently generated enough smoke to worry somebody. The fire response has just been called off.
(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
11:57 PM: A deck fire in the 5600 block of 49th SW has apparently spread into the attic. We are en route.
12:17 AM: Our crew is on scene. The fire is at a two-story home; the deck is on the second floor.
A neighbor tells us flames were visible at one point. The five people who were at home all got out of the house, thanks to a neighbor who saw the smoke and banged on the door to alert everyone; a child is being checked out for what’s described as a small burn, and that’s the only injury we’ve heard of.
12:33 AM: The fire’s out; cause is under investigation, and some units are being dismissed from the scene.
ADDED 8:45 AM: Per SFD on Twitter, “improperly discarded smoking materials” caused the fire, with damage estimated around $35,000.
(Tuesday night photo by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
Followup to the Brace Point house fire Tuesday night that was determined to be a case of arson: Friday afternoon was the deadline for the 54-year-old woman arrested hours after the fire to be either charged or released from jail. The jail register shows she was released Friday evening, and court dockets show no charges filed so far. She had appeared for a bail hearing Thursday afternoon, at which time bail was set at $100,000, but after Friday afternoon came and went without charges being filed, she was let out on conditional release. The probable-cause document from Thursday says her car was found parked just south of the house the night of the fire, with personal belongings and her dogs inside, as well as notes saying she was sorry and that she was leaving, offering advice to the home’s other resident about contacting someone regarding the insurance. The court documents said she was arrested after returning to the house about four hours after the fire; a five-gallon gas can missing from the home’s crawl space was found near where the fire started. We will be following up with prosecutors on Monday about the case’s future.
(1st photo from scene, by Patrick Sand for WSB)
9:36 PM: Seattle Fire is responding to a reported house fire in the 10000 block of 51st SW (map). It’s on a dead-end street in Brace Point. More to come.
(This photo & next 2, by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
9:45 PM UPDATE: Via scanner, firefighters report they have the fire “knocked down.” Our crew has just arrived and sees some flames from a corner of the roof on the 3-story house. Strong smell of smoke even here in upper Fauntleroy more than a mile north.
10:12 PM UPDATE: Nobody was home when this started, our crew at the scene has been told. Flames are out now. (Added: Video of firefighters on the roof – note the smoke and also the water rushing down the driveway:)
SFD’s investigator is there to try to figure out how it started.
11:53 PM UPDATE: No cause announced yet; the investigation is still under way, per SFD.
WEDNESDAY 10:06 AM: Police have announced they believe this was arson – finding a gas can inside the house – and a resident of the home has been arrested. Details on SPD Blotter.
10:23 AM UPDATE: We’ve checked the background of the 54-year-old woman who is in jail for investigation of arson; she does not appear to have a criminal record.
12:32 PM UPDATE: Since she wasn’t booked until this morning, her bail hearing won’t be until tomorrow, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
THURSDAY EVENING UPDATE: Her bail was set today at $100,000, according to the jail register. We won’t have other details from prosecutors until Friday.
9:59 PM: Electrical problem, crews on the scene tell us. All over now.
3:41 AM: If you’ve been awakened by a big fire response in North Delridge – it was a dispatch for a possible house fire in the 4700 block of 26th SW (map). However, radio communication indicates it was a “porch fire,” and that police put it out before firefighters even got there. Most SFD units are being canceled.
4:14 AM UPDATE: But now there’s more to the story: This is a suspected case of arson, and at least one person is in custody. (More in comments.)
7:05 AM: Busy morning for firefighters. They’re now off to a second house-fire call – this time in the 8000 block of 45th SW (map), just east of central Lincoln Park. Not major, apparently – units still on the way are being told they can slow down. More to come.
7:09 AM: Per scanner, firefighters on scene say it’s just a furnace problem. We’re still en route to check. (Update – Our crew on scene has confirmed it.)
(Fire engine on watch in 8400 block of 20th SW; line goes to scene along the alley, out of view)
6:39 AM: Firefighters have been keeping “fire watch” this morning after putting out a fire in in the 8400 block of 20th SW (map). That means they’re guarding the scene to make sure the fire doesn’t re-ignite. No injuries, the crew on scene told us; we’ll add information about the damage and cause when that’s available later this morning.
7:44 AM: Went back for that photo after talking with the battalion chief at another fire-response scene. We’ve learned no one was home at the time of this fire, which did most of its damage in the rear of the house, facing an alley.
(Photo by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
10:58 AM: Big fire callout to 4611 35th SW, which is the Emeritus Senior Living facility. Arriving units did not find any obvious sign of fire – sounds like they might have found a bit of smoke in a sixth-floor laundry room – possibly an electrical problem. We’re en route to check.
11:05 AM UPDATE: Most of the fire units have been dismissed (we’re heading north on 35th and have already passed Engines 11 and 37 heading back to their stations). We’re now arriving in the area just north of Alaska on 35th and two units are still visible outside the building. No traffic effects.
12:07 PM: Tim Clemans was at the open house at Station 32 nearby when they got the call for this – here’s what Tim recorded via Google Glass:
Since it initially went out as a “fire in building” call, that meant a huge response just in case – not just from the nearest station (this one) but from others in West Seattle as well as specialized equipment from across the bridge. Meantime, SFD wrapped up after clearing the smoke generated by the laundry-room problem
(Photo courtesy Michael Riedel)
5:47 PM: Seattle Fire is on a “fire in single/family residence” call in the 9000 block of 16th SW. More to come.
6:18 PM UPDATE: Thanks to Mike for updates in comments while we were en route. 16th is blocked by the Salvation Army building. No reports of injuries; we are told it was a very small fire in a boarded-up structure on the alley. Some of the SFD units are now leaving.
6:39 PM UPDATE: Mike reports 16th SW reopened (shortly after we left).
12:52 PM: If you’ve seen/heard the big fire response, it’s for a house in the 2700 block of SW Kenyon (map), but most of the units have just been canceled. We’re checking it out.
12:58 PM UPDATE: Described on the scanner as a mattress fire.
1:16 PM UPDATE: Added photo. Fire’s out, no major damage, no injuries reported.
Just in case you’re wondering – the Seattle Fire response at the Nucor Steel plant right now was in response to a report of an alarm about a possible fire in “a room.” Per radio communications, crews arriving on the scene did not find a visible fire, but sprinklers were going off, and they are trying to find out what set off the alarm. (Update a few minutes later – crews on scene have focused in on an “overheated control panel.”)
(Added: Reader video shared via e-mail – it rotates to correct angle quickly)
8:53 AM: Fire crews are rushing to the 1300 block of Alki Avenue SW (map), where a garage fire is reported. First crews on scene say it’s the garage for a home, and they’re seeing smoke. Note that the initial response is likely blocking traffic both ways – they’re calling for police to help with that – so you’ll want to avoid that stretch of the beachfront boulevard.
9 AM: Our crew is en route; via scanner, crews at the scene say the fire’s under control and they’re checking to be certain it didn’t spread.
9:10 AM: The fire is “tapped” – which basically means out. Our crew has arrived and is told nobody was home when it happened; we’ve confirmed, no injuries. Damage and cause are still being assessed. The 1300 block of Alki is still closed to traffic because of fire units.
9:31 AM: Fire crews say the garage contained “miscellaneous” items and that damage is estimated at $5,000.
(Photos by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
8:23 PM: Sizable fire response in the 3400 block of 37th SW (map); scanner indicates it’s a basement fire. More to come.
9:03 PM: The fire wrapped up quickly. Christopher Boffoli went to the scene for WSB and reports that it was indeed a small basement fire, tapped quickly, blamed on the furnace. Firefighters were working to get smoke out of the house.
Quick update on the family whose Roxhill-area home was gutted by fire more than a week ago: One week after Kristine Elliott asked for help with finding a new rental home for her dad (who is a cancer patient), mom, and sister, she says they have found one – and it’s thanks to a lead from a WSB reader. So, thanks to everybody who responded with suggestions! We asked Kristine if there is anything else specific her family needs, besides what’s come in via this GoFundMe account; she says, “We are still trying to get all of that figured out.”
You can help: West Seattle fire survivors, a cancer patient and his family, need a rental home, and moreJanuary 28, 2014 at 11:00 am | In How to help, West Seattle fires, West Seattle news | 16 Comments
(WSB photo from Sunday morning)
Sunday morning’s fire at a Roxhill-area home was far more devastating than it looked. Even the damage estimate Seattle Fire announced later – $300,000 – doesn’t tell the whole story of how hard this family was hit.
We heard this morning from Kristine Elliott, whose mother, father, and sister – Eileen, Greg, and Catherine Riddle – are the three residents who escaped the fire, along with the family dog. Even before the fire, the family was dealing with an indescribable challenge: Kristine’s dad is fighting lung and liver cancer.
They are talking with their insurance company now to sort things out, but they need some immediate help. For one – they need a home to rent in West Seattle, one-story rambler type so it’s not tough for Kristine’s dad to get around, two bedrooms so there’s room for her parents and her 23-year-old sister, pet-friendly for their dog.
They also are accepting monetary donations through a GoFundMe account online – find it here – and through an account at Sterling Savings Bank (tell Sterling you want to donate to the Riddle Family Trust). Kristine says her family will need some household items, too, since they lost pretty much everything when the fire spread so quickly through the attic of their home, but they’re not entirely sure what yet; nonetheless, they are collecting donations at Boulevard Park Place in Burien, owned by a friend of the family.
If you have any rental suggestions, please comment or let us know via e-mail and we will forward to Kristine.
(UPDATED Sunday night with new information from SFD)
7:55 AM UPDATE: The house is just north of Roxhill Elementary. The fire’s in the attic, according to radio communications, and crews believe they “have the bulk of it under control.”
8:02 AM UPDATE: Our crew has arrived and sent the photo we added above. Most of the activity is in the area of the house’s garage, they say.
Meantime, in radio communications, crews on scene have declared the fire “tapped.” No injuries reported. The Red Cross is being called to help the residents (described so far as three adults).
8:30 AM UPDATE: Firefighters are in mop-up mode.
(Firefighters who went into the attic wound up covered in insulation material that had to be hosed off)
No word yet on how this started – they’ve been awaiting the SFD investigator. We’ve just spoken at the scene with SFD spokesperson Lt. Sue Stangl, who says the residents are three members of a family and that neighbors were first to see the smoke and call it in.
9:31 AM: Added – more photos, and video of Lt. Stangl’s interview with us and the only other media crew at the scene (they were from KIRO TV). We will update the story again whenever information about the fire’s cause is available.
6:46 PM UPDATE: Fire investigators have ruled this accidental and confirmed that it started in the garage, spread to the house. Damage is estimated at $300,000 – $200,000 to the house, $100,000 to what was inside.
(SCROLL DOWN for midmorning video update from SFD)
(Video shared with WSB by neighbors)
5:07 AM: Seattle Fire units are responding to the 9400 block of 45th SW (map) right now to check out a house-fire report. More to come.
5:15 AM: Crews on scene describe the fire as in a garage, according to emergency-radio communications. People in the area tell us flames are visible from a distance. Our crew is arriving.
5:27 AM: Crews report the fire is under control and that they have moved to a defensive firefighting mode.
5:33 AM: Just added video shared by neighbors, showing the fire at its height. Our crew at the scene has talked with the residents, who say they got out OK after somebody knocked on the door to wake them up and tell them about the fire in their garage, which is behind their house.
No injuries are reported.
5:55 AM: While the flames are out, the garage is still smoldering, and it’s too soon for fire crews to know what started the fire, and what damage was done to the vehicles in the garage. We’re told it’s part of an older structure that was on the site – the house in front is newer.
6:54 AM: Streets are reopening, so the buses should return to regular routing soon (confirmed by Metro, 7:06 am).
9:33 AM: We went back to the scene, where SFD spokesperson Kyle Moore told us the cause for now remains “undetermined.”
Moore told us more not only about the fire damage, but about why this location and situation posed some unique challenges to firefighters:
(WSB reader photo)
2:18 PM: Big Seattle Fire response en route to the 3400 block of SW Roxbury. More to come.
2:24 PM: 35th is closed south of Roxbury. This is believed to be a chimney fire.
2:40 PM: Adding photo. SFD confirmed to us at the scene that it was a chimney problem; no injuries, no evacuation required. Most of the units assigned to the call have been canceled, though Ladder 11 is still on site, with crews on the roof investigating.
2:44 PM: Ladder 11 has finished its investigation -”no heat signature” over any of the fireplaces, so it’s wrapping up at the scene too.
2:57 PM: The road’s reopening; Metro has texted that bus service is returning to its normal route.
6:01 PM UPDATE: The fire is “knocked down,” per radio communications (and then a moment later, “under control”). No injuries reported. (Yes, that’s a TV helicopter overhead checking it out.)
(Photo by Tony Bradley)
6:17 PM UPDATE: Our crew at the scene says the fire was confined to one room of the house, but they’re not sure what started it, and they’re going to keep watch for a while in case of flare-ups or hot spots. The couple who live there got out OK, per SFD.
7:39 PM UPDATE: It’s been a busy night for fires around the city (though this is the only major incident in West Seattle so far), so the on-duty fire investigator has just arrived.
9:31 PM UPDATE: SFD says the fire was caused by an “overheated extension cord,” and estimates damage at $45,000.
Updates on two incidents that began with notable Seattle Fire responses, minutes apart:
(Photo by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
AVALON WAY, 6:05 PM: Seattle Fire is responding to a “fire in building” call in the 3000 block of Avalon Way. (6:14) Avalon is closed at Genesee. Buses are also being rerouted, according to a text from Metro.
(Photo by Sean Stolte)
(6:19) It’s a mattress fire, WSB’s Christopher Boffoli has learned at the scene, and it’s out. Also, the road is partly reopening. (6:31) Metro says Route 21 is back to normal on Avalon.
(Photo by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
Christopher reports people who live in the residence told him the fire was started by a child playing with a lighter.
ADMIRAL WAY, 6:11 PM: Some of the units are being moved from the Avalon call to another one at 4701 SW Admiral Way, where a possible fire was reported, but the first-arriving unit isn’t seeing anything.
(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
(6:15) One crew reports light smoke from a possible electrical problem. (6:22) All units except one are being dismissed. (6:28) WSB’s Patrick Sand says firefighters at the scene tell him this was a dryer problem that caused lots of smoke but no actual fire.
(Photos by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
11:14 PM: Big response for a house-fire call in the 9000 block of 21st SW, near Westwood Village (map) – possibly a fire in the basement. More shortly.
11:29 PM UPDATE: Christopher Boffoli is there for WSB and confirms it’s a basement fire – very smoky, he adds. Via radio, we’ve heard firefighters declare it “tapped.” No injuries reported so far.
11:37 PM UPDATE: Update from Christopher – all the residents got out OK; they’re still doing inventory on pets – he says, “They grabbed their dogs but they say a couple of cats are inside.”
5:48 PM: A big Seattle Fire response is on the way to the 6900 block of Delridge Way to check out a fire-in-building report. The address on the 911 log checks to the Lam-Bow Apartments just north of the major commercial intersection at Delridge/Orchard/Sylvan. More to come.
5:56 PM: Our crew is just arriving. Via scanner, SFD is reporting it’s a “room fire” on the three-story building’s second floor. Avoid Delridge at Myrtle – it’s blocked southbound and there was talk of closing the other direction too.
6:04 PM: Some of the units are being canceled. The incident commander says an extinguisher discharged and that apparently led to reports of smoke – not an actual fire. They hope to have a lane of traffic open shortly.
6:44 PM: The scene hasn’t completely cleared yet but is getting closer. Southbound Delridge is reported to be reopening. Metro Route 120 has been rerouted until the traffic flow is back to normal.
6:52 PM: Route 120 is back to its regular route.
5:33 PM: A condo building fire response across from Seacrest in the 1600 block of Harbor has slowed traffic in the area. The call originally went out as a chimney fire.
6:11 PM: The incident commander confirmed at the scene, that’s what it was. No major damage, no injuries, no unit(s) left uninhabitable. It was spotted by someone passing by, SFD says, who saw sparks and called it in. Harbor was blocked both ways when we got there around 5:25 but reopened a few minutes later. Thanks to those who texted us about it – the response didn’t look as big on the 911 log as it did at the scene, so we wouldn’t have gone without those firsthand reports.
(Photos by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
10:04 PM: Fire crews are at a residence in the 4500 block of 41st SW in The Junction for what they describe as a “tapped dryer fire.” But they’re also acknowledging there’s lots of “residual smoke.”
10:29 PM: WSB contributor Christopher Boffoli checked out the fire scene and reports no one was hurt; he saw SFD “haul the smoking dryer out of the house.”
12:39 AM: Big Seattle Fire response now on the way to what was reported to be a possible townhouse fire in the 2600 block of SW Holden – but the first crew on scene was told it’s apparently out.
1:03 AM: The call is closed.
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