West Seattle, Washington
Heads up if you usually walk into and/or out of Schmitz Park via the staircase to Admiral Way – its wooden steps have fire damage. Thanks to Dannie for the photo and tip this morning: “The steps on the SW corner of the Schmitz Park reserve were burned, very recently. I came upon them when walking the trail this morning. Strong scent if burning… The whole middle section was destroyed.” Dannie called to report it and a Seattle Fire team was dispatched to investigate; they were gone before we arrived, so we don’t know what they determined, and won’t likely be able to get official information until Monday, but will follow up then.
Saturday’s 2 am fire in a restroom/storage building at Riverview Playfield was “a set fire,” SFD Lt. Sue Stangl confirmed to WSB today. She said the damage estimate is $70,000. What that breaks down to, and how the building will be repaired, has yet to be determined, according to Seattle Parks. Spokesperson Christina Hirsch told us today that “SPR staff have visited the site to take an initial look at the damage. Staff are planning on conducting a formal assessment this week. After that assessment is complete, we will have a better idea of damage estimates and repair plans.” The comfort-station building is only three years old. Meantime, with the park so busy this time of year, portable restrooms already have been brought in, Hirsch said.
(UPDATED 5:22 PM with fire’s cause)
10 AM: Seattle Fire is reporting smoke and flames as it arrives at an Arbor Heights home in the 10200 block of 38th SW [map]. One person is reported to be hurt and they’re calling for an additional medic unit.
10:08 AM: SFD says the patient is being cared for. Our crew will be on scene shortly.
10:11 AM: Per scanner, the fire is under control “in a shed” adjacent to the house.
10:17 AM: Our crew says firefighters are cutting into the roof – ventilating – to continue fighting the fire.
They also say the patient is male and appears to be conscious; (update) scanner indicates he’s 62 years old and likely suffering from smoke inhalation. Scanner traffic indicates they’re bringing in more engines for additional water supply. Also, our crew tells us a TV helicopter is now in the area.
10:24 AM: Per scanner, they’ve had to run a hose on SW 102nd from 35th so they’re asking to close off 102nd to protect it.
(Please stay away from the fire zone in general anyway.)
10:43 AM: We’ll be asking SFD spokesperson Lt. Sue Stangl, who is now on scene, about the water situation. As discussed in comments, multiple Arbor Heights fire hydrants were upgraded in 2011 after flames destroyed a house while firefighters lost time awaiting supply. Meantime, scanner discussion indicates part of 35th may be blocked in the area too – so if you have to get to or from Arbor Heights, the further WEST you can stay, the better, for now. Meantime, SFD’s investigator has been dispatched to look into the fire’s cause.
10:50 AM: Lt. Stangl says a firefighter also was hurt, a leg injury suffered apparently on what was reported to be an unstable deck at the house. She confirmed that the 62-year-old man with smoke inhalation lives at the house. The fire is now tapped. Regarding the water supply, she said that they brought in additional engines so that they could run at the highest pressure possible – Arbor Heights does have uneven supply (as noted in our 2011 coverage, some hydrants are atop smaller mains, though some of those also were upgraded in 2012).
11:23 AM: Our crew’s back and uploading the video of Lt. Stangl’s briefing so you can hear what she had to say about the water, the fire, and the people who were hurt. We also have questions out to Seattle Public Utilities, which is responsible for water mains and fire hydrants. Meantime, photojournalists including ours were taken around to see the major fire damage:
12:05 PM: The audio in our video of the briefing is unfortunately mostly unintelligible because of the TV-helicopter noise. We’ll be following up with Lt. Stangl for further explanation on what firefighters had to do. Meantime, we’ve added a few more photos to this report.
12:21 PM: Just talked with Lt. Stangl by phone. She says that coincidentally, the incident commander on today’s fire was the same one from the 2011 fire nearby and was already familiar with the area, as are many of the crews, and with the plans for dealing with fires in the area, so that plan was implemented. She says there was not a supply shortage at any time – they did not have to use extra water from the backup engines. Lt. Stangl also noted, as we now recall learning in 2011-2012, that if necessary, SPU can reroute water supplies around the city to make higher flows available in any given area if needed, but they did not need to request that in this case, either. We’ll update again later when we hear from SPU about our questions relating to the overall hydrant status in the area.
1:34 PM: In case you wondered – SW 102nd is open again, but 38th SW remains closed, in the vicinity of the fire.
3:37 PM: We just spoke with SPU’s Andy Ryan, who reiterates that there were no problems with the hydrant system today. As per city standards, everywhere in the area is now no further than 1,000 feet from a 1,000-gallon-per-minute hydrant. The ones closest to today’s fire are 500 and 600 gallons per minute, he said, and there are 800-gpm hydrants nearby. (The WSB archives include this map from 2013 showing remaining 500-gpm hydrants around West Seattle, and this explanation of how they figure into firefighting. The hydrants’ exact addresses are listed here.)
5:22 PM: And we checked back with Lt. Stangl to ask about the fire’s cause: Accidental – the resident was doing some work in the garage, spilled some fuel, a table fell over, and “fuel vapors” were ignited.
Damage to the structure is estimated at $55,000, and $18,000 to its contents. We don’t know the resident’s condition but she says the firefighter is already out of the hospital.
7:39 AM: Second big fire callout of the morning – this time, at what Seattle Fire says is a vacant house in the 9400 block of Olson Place SW [map], extinguished quickly. We’re en route to find out more.
8:13 AM: SFD has closed out this call but we talked to them before they left. The house is being remodeled. The fire damage isn’t visible from outside and was limited to some cabinetry, apparently ignited by combustible materials.
5:14 AM: Thanks for the tips and photo from the overnight fire callout in Riverview. Firefighters are reported to have extinguished a fire in the women’s restroom at Riverview Playfield in the 7300 block of 12th SW, first reported after 2 am. We’ll be following up with SFD and Parks later this morning.
8:48 AM: No one from Parks was around when we went to the scene to follow up a short time ago, but our photo, above, shows some of the damage, and that this building includes storage; the entire building is taped off.
10:44 AM: If you’re wondering about the big Seattle Fire response at Fauntleroy Church right now: It is categorized as an automatic fire alarm. Scanner reports indicate sprinklers went off, possibly because of an electrical fire. We are en route to find out more.
10:56 AM: Church member Peter Yanacek, who also posted this in comments, says the fire was in the library, and happened during the Music Sunday service; everyone is reported to be safe outside.
SFD has dispatched its investigator. Our photographer just called in and said the sprinklers discharged “a lot of water,” according to SFD, so that will require cleanup.
11:06 AM: Church attendees are being allowed back in to get their personal items. The church also has put out a call for wet-dry/shop-type vacs that they could use with the cleanup. The co-housed Fauntleroy YMCA (WSB sponsor) is closed, we’re told, for water cleanup, and they don’t yet know if they’ll reopen later today.
3:33 PM: Rev. Leah Atkinson Bilinski sent this to her church’s congregation:
This morning, during our worship service, we experienced a small fire in our fourth floor library. The fire was accidentally caused by a child (who was not physically harmed, but who is quite emotionally upset). The sprinkler system worked as it should, and the fire was contained to a very small area within the library.
Water did soak walls and flooring on the fourth floor outside the library, office floor below (outside of offices), lobby, and one bathroom in the narthex as it came through the ceiling.
A big thank you to all of our volunteers who jumped right to work cleaning up what water we could before the professionals arrived this afternoon. Bless you, bless you, bless you!
Our annual meeting will be rescheduled and we will be in touch with that new date within the next few days. If pieces of Music Sunday are able to rescheduled, we’ll also let you know that.
The fire was small, and we are a strong, healthy church. All will be well!
As we rejoice in that wellness, let us remember to pray today for those who are not well, notably those involved in the horribly tragic loss of life in Orlando. Let us pray for those lost, their families, LGBTQ families everywhere and a world in which so much hate still exists and is allowed to fester.
And to those prayers, I ask a smaller, but special additional prayer — for one very scared child and her family today, who need to know us as their church family. Love is so powerful, and I thank God for a church that loves well and adds love to a world in such desperate need of it.
5:28 PM: We stopped by a short time ago. The water cleanup continues:
A professional cleanup crew is on site now, but Rev. Bilinski says they are thankful for the many volunteers who pitched in earlier today.
5:42 PM: The Fauntleroy Y will reopen tomorrow.
4:15 AM: A “full response” is arriving at a possible house-fire call in the 8100 block of 30th SW [map]. More to come.
4:19 AM: It’s a garage fire, SFD has tweeted. The response is being scaled down and its investigator is on the way.
4:29 AM: Our crew is at the scene and confirms that the fire’s out but a detached garage is damaged, as is a car inside it. No one hurt.
4:36 AM: SFD’s investigator has arrived to figure out what caused this. (Sunday’s early-morning garage fire, you might recall, was blamed on improperly discarded charcoal briquets. We’ll check back on this one later in the morning.)
10:19 AM: SFD spokesperson Lt. Sue Stangl tells WSB the garage fire is suspected to have been set, so Seattle Police are investigating. We went back a short time ago for a daylight look at the damage:
The arson tipline is 800-55-ARSON.
7:54 AM: Seattle Fire is already scaling back what was a “full response” to a possible house fire in the 9000 block of 39th SW [map] – it’s reported to be a “small electrical fire” that’s already out.
8:05 AM: Our crew is at the scene and confirmed that description of what happened. Remaining fire crews are making one last check of the attic at the house to be sure nothing’s smoldering. No injuries.
Sunday morning’s garage fire behind a house just south of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church (WSB coverage here) burned big – as that photo from a neighbor showed – and briefly. We checked with Seattle Fire this morning to see what its investigator found out about the cause; SFD spokesperson Corey Orvold tells WSB that the fire was ruled accidental, sparked by “improperly discarded charcoal briquets.” No one was hurt, but the fire also burned a tree and damaged a car.
Thanks to Kylee Schmuck for sending that photo of the car that caught fire at the east end of the Roxbury corridor a little while ago – 1st and Olson (map), according to the Seattle Fire dispatch. No word of any injuries but Seattle Police have been dispatched to handle traffic in the aftermath of the fire, so avoid the area for a while if you can.
FIRST REPORT, 4:09 AM: A full Seattle Fire Department response is starting to arrive at an address near 35th and Myrtle, and reporting that they see flames. They’re blocking all lanes of 35th at the scene.
4:16 AM: The fire is described as tapped/”knocked down” but there’s some concern about wires.
4:27 AM: Our crew is on scene and reports that while the address on the 911 log is that of Our Lady of Guadalupe, this fire was in a
shed detached structure behind the house on 35th immediately *south* of the church. SFD’s investigator is on the way to try to find out what caused it. No injuries reported.
4:53 AM: SFD is still on scene mopping up. We’ll check back at the scene when it’s more fully light out.
4:59 AM: Top photo added, showing the burned structure engulfed in flames, taken by nearby resident who says, “Very thankful to neighbor who woke us up.”
5:35 AM: We just checked back at the scene. 35th SW is open again. SFD has a crew still on scene protecting against flareups, including putting more foam on a tree to which the flames were spreading before the fire was out.
In our photo, you can see the charred remains of the burned structure behind the chain-link fence. Neighbors say a car was damaged, too.
9:14 PM: A full house-fire response is headed for the 2600 block of SW Holden. First units to arrive are seeing “light smoke.” More to come.
9:19 PM: The response is being reduced – it’s a kitchen fire, announced as “food on the stove.”
4:15 PM: Seattle Fire is headed for an address in The Junction that cross-references to Husky Deli.
4:22 PM: We’re en route; scanner says “occupant” put out the fire, but SFD is checking to be sure everything’s safely extinguished.
4:33 PM: Added a photo, as SFD goes up on the building’s roof to do that checking. Some of the responding units already have been dismissed.
4:38 PM: Husky Deli owners tell us their coffee roaster overheated and that’s what led to the small, quickly extinguished fire.
No injuries, no major damage; right now they and SFD are continuing to check to ensure there are no hotspots before reopening the store.
6:23 PM: Yes, they are open and will be until tonight’s usual 9 pm.
3:44 PM: Seattle Fire is at a house in the 3400 block of 40th SW, where a resident is being treated for smoke inhalation after what firefighters tell WSB’s Christopher Boffoli was a “small oven fire.” More to come.
3:52 PM: A neighbor got the fire under control using the kitchen sprayer before firefighters arrive and helped the resident, SFD tells us, but it did generate “significant flames” before it was entirely extinguished. The resident was taken to a hospital via private ambulance.
9:31 PM: Big fire callout to the 9200 block of 16th SW (map) – but we’re hearing the first units to arrive reporting that the fire is tapped. More to come.
9:43 PM: We’ve just arrived in the area. 16th is mostly blocked at the scene, south of Barton, by SFD vehicles but what appears to be a civilian in a reflective vest is directing traffic so some is getting through.
9:45 PM: Our photographer’s been told it was a dryer fire – all out, no injuries, nobody evacuated, the fire crews will be leaving shortly.
Thanks to Jerry for sending the photo from a car fire about an hour ago on West Marginal Place just north of West Marginal Way SW, under the bridge and by the bicycle trail. We just talked with the car’s owners, as they await a tow truck; they said they were driving when suddenly the car started filling with smoke, so they got off the road (this area is a cul-de-sac), called for help, and got out safely before SFD arrived.
Back on Tuesday, thanks to a texted tip, we were able to report on the start of a Seattle Fire Department training operation that’s caught a lot of attention, practice fires at a house at 50th and Hudson. The operation has one more day to go. Today, SFD officially invited media for a closer look. We recorded some video:
We also have found out a little more about the trainees, officially Recruit Class 104:
Two are female, 19 are male. We asked about ages and hometowns; that information wasn’t available, said SFD spokesperson Corey Orvold, but they could tell us that all but one are from this state – the 21st is from Oregon. 12 of them are listed as having “previous fire experience.” One used to work with the TSA at Sea-Tac; one was a plumber; one, the information provided to us mentions, majored in cello performance.
P.S. In discussion following our earlier story, someone asked about the future plans for this corner once this house is demolished after the training sessions. An early-stage site plan in city files shows a “proposed house” set back a little further north on the site.
3:59 PM: Big response for a fire call at the commercial building at 5214 Delridge Way SW. More to come; we’re en route.
4:12 PM: Sorry for the site slowness these past few minutes. Meantime, our crew has arrived. Firefighters found light smoke in the building and a “small heat signature on the roof” but were trying to track down the source. This building is home to the Daily Dose coffee shop and at least one other small business. No word of injuries. The response is scaling back but for now, Delridge is blocked between Brandon and Hudson.
4:16 PM: What happened seemed to be in the yoga/massage side of the building, something involving scented oils that could be smelled from outside the building. It’s out. Police are letting Metro through on Delridge but otherwise, it might be another 15 minutes or so before it’s clear enough that they can get other vehicles back onto the road.
5:21 PM: Just came back to check. SFD is gone; Delridge is fully open.
5:17 PM: A big Seattle Fire response is arriving at a possible house fire in Gatewood, in the 6700 block of 36th SW [map].
5:20 PM: Early arrivals have made the preliminary assessment – as monitored via scanner – that it’s a “small smoldering fire in the attic.”
5:22 PM: All but three SFD units are being dismissed. Those remaining on scene report “water on the fire.”
5:28 PM: Our crew has arrived and confirms that firefighters have extinguished the small fire in the attic, believed to be electrical in origin. No injuries reported.
9:45 AM: Thanks for the texted tip! Seattle Fire has a major training operation at a to-be-demolished house at 50th and Hudson [map] – house-fire practice for recruits – and will be there every day for the rest of the week. Nearby residents have been notified but this will catch the eyes of many passersby, because Hudson in that area leads to Jacobsen Road, which many drivers, walkers, runners, and riders take to get to and from Beach Drive, south of Me-Kwa-Mooks and Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook.
A hydrant is running for the training, and we’ve already received brown-water reports as a result. SFD says people are welcome to watch “from a safe distance”; while the trainees were being briefed, early spectators including a mom and toddler were watching from the south side of Hudson, and a firefighter came over to offer a sticker.
If you’re planning to use that route to and from Jacobsen, please slow down, multiple SFD vehicles are in the area for the training. We’ll be going back over for a closer look at what they’re doing, and will update. (We last covered this kind of trainee operation back in 2013 before the Beach Drive residential-building demolitions for the Murray CSO project.)
11:35 AM: When we went back, the first training fire was under way:
2:44 PM: Thanks for the text. Seattle Fire has sent a big dispatch to a possible house fire
in High Point, in the 3200 block of 31st SW.
2:49 PM: Before we arrived, the call’s been closed, meaning the SFD units have all been sent back. So, nothing major.
4:47 PM: WSB’s Christopher Boffoli reports having caught the description via scanner before this call’s quick closeout: A small fire related to a bird’s nest in or around a chimney/heater outlet.
If you heard the sirens in the past quarter-hour or so – a “fire in single-family residence” response was sent to a house in the 10600 block of 34th SW [map]. It turned out to be on the porch of a vacant house, according to emergency-radio traffic, and a neighbor put it out, so most of the response has been dismissed.