West Seattle Blog... » West Seattle fires http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Thu, 26 Nov 2015 11:37:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 FOLLOWUP: Puget Ridge fire was accidental, ignited by lamp http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/followup-puget-ridge-fire-was-accidental-ignited-by-lamp/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/followup-puget-ridge-fire-was-accidental-ignited-by-lamp/#comments Mon, 23 Nov 2015 20:47:58 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=330026

(WSB photo, midday Monday)
Seattle Fire crews are still keeping “fire watch” at the scene of last night’s house fire in the 5200 block of 18th SW on Puget Ridge (WSB coverage here). And SFD spokesperson Lt. Sue Stangl has just sent word of what investigators determined: The fire was accidental.

(WSB photo, midday Monday)
She adds that damage is estimated at “$250,000 loss to structure and $50,000 to contents. A lamp tipped over and ignited some clothing. There was a delay in calling the fire department as the resident tried to extinguish the fire twice.” As SFD reminds in this post on the SFD Fire Line site, please don’t ever wait to call for help:

… A resident used two fire extinguishers to fight the visible flames. When the fire appeared to be extinguished, he left the room. A short time later he returned to find a fully involved room fire. He and his roommates attempted again to put water on the fire but it grew too fast. Once they realized that they couldn’t conquer the rapidly growing fire, they called 9-1-1 and exited the building. Having a fire extinguisher in an accessible location can help keep your home fire safe. The most important step is to immediately call 9-1-1 at the first sign of a fire. Once you know that help is on the way, you can then decide if the fire is small enough to utilize your fire extinguisher. …

You’ll find even more safety information in the Fire Line update.

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UPDATE: 2-alarm house fire on Puget Ridge; 6 people and 1 cat all get out safely, no injuries http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/house-fire-call-on-puget-ridge/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/house-fire-call-on-puget-ridge/#comments Mon, 23 Nov 2015 03:05:57 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=329949

(WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli)

7:05 PM: Seattle Fire is at the scene of a reported house fire in the 5200 block of 18th SW [map] on Puget Ridge. They’ve just called for two more engines and are reporting the fire is visible through the roof of one side of the house.

7:11 PM: Via scanner, it’s being described as a heavily involved attic fire.

(Added: Reader video, via text – thank you!)
7:14 PM: Also via scanner, they’re pulling crews out of the house and declaring it a “defensive fire,” apparently because of danger from a power line – they won’t go back inside until power is shut off.

(Added 7:18 pm: Thanks to Jon for the photo)
7:21 PM: Neighbors tell our crew at the scene that people were home when this started but made it out OK. Flames are still visible.

7:29 PM: Firefighters have gone back into “offensive” mode and report the fire’s “knocked down.” No word of injuries so far. SFD is calling for the Red Cross to come offer help to the residents.

(WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli)
7:46 PM: SFD spokesperson Lt. Sue Stangl has just briefed media. She says six people were home and all did indeed get out OK, as did their cat (photo above; rescuer was SFD Lt. Kym LeRoy). She said the fire was in the garage, living room, and attic when firefighters arrived, and discussed the electrical-line problems we mentioned earlier. She also confirms, no injuries. We’ll add video of her briefing once we upload it.

8:06 PM: SFD says all six of the people who were displaced are adults. The cause of the fire isn’t known yet – investigators are on scene.

8:53 PM: We’ve added the video of Lt. Stangl’s briefing. She also says via Twitter that “one elderly woman … was carried out of the house by a neighbor.”

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UPDATE: High Point house-fire response downsized – just a kitchen problem http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/seattle-fire-heading-for-possible-house-fire-in-high-point/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/seattle-fire-heading-for-possible-house-fire-in-high-point/#comments Thu, 12 Nov 2015 01:16:12 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=328842 5:16 PM: Seattle Fire is headed for the 6500 block of 31st SW in High Point [map] for a possible house fire.

5:19 PM: Fire units on scene confirm it’s a problem in the kitchen, not a fire, so most of the response is being canceled.

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Charges filed against West Seattle serial-arson suspect Jacob Kokko http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/charges-filed-against-west-seattle-serial-arson-suspect-jacob-kokko/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/charges-filed-against-west-seattle-serial-arson-suspect-jacob-kokko/#comments Tue, 10 Nov 2015 23:46:54 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=328754

(WSB photo: October 31, Senior Center fire)
3:46 PM: Five days after the arrest of 22-year-old Jacob Kokko in connection with the recent arsons in West Seattle, he is officially charged. The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged Kokko this afternoon with second-degree arson (a Class B felony), second-degree reckless burning (a gross misdemeanor), and third-degree malicious mischief (a gross misdemeanor). The charges specifically call out the two arsons in The Junction early Halloween morning – in dumpsters underneath the Senior Center of West Seattle and alongside the California/Alaska commercial building that houses businesses including Easy Street Records and Twilight Gallery – and a trash-can fire in the 6500 block of 34th SW, near his home, on October 12th.

(WSB photo: October 31, California/Alaska fire)
His bail remains set at $300,000, and he is scheduled to be arraigned (answer the charges) on November 23rd. On first look, the charging papers shine no further light on a motive, aside from Kokko telling detectives he did it because he “needed help.” As our research indicated, he has no apparent criminal history, prosecutors write, but they sought to keep the bail relatively high because “his unhinged behavior causes great concern for the safety of the community.” The Senior Center fire, in particular, could easily have spread to engulf the entire building, it’s pointed out.

Kokko was arrested last Thursday night, shortly after officers served a search warrant at his High Point home, saying they found evidence linking him to the fires. Court documents say someone who knows him recognized him in the surveillance video that shows the bus-stop fire on Morgan south of 35th being set October 12th; he is not charged in connection with that fire, though, nor with the October 18th Sylvan Ridge car arsons, or the October 19th High Point rental-office fire, or the October 21st 40th/Morgan recycling-bin fire.

ADDED 6:01 PM: Aside from the charges themselves, the information in the new documents is the same as what we reported after Kokko’s bail hearing – at which he did not appear – last Friday afternoon. He is said to have admitted to four fires, the three in which he is charged, and the bus-stop box fire which was recorded on video. He also is said to be on surveillance video setting the Senior Center fire, then walking away, and returning, apparently to be sure it was still going. Otherwise, the only other information we’ve learned about him, from separate research, is that he worked at a restaurant – not in West Seattle – and hadn’t lived here more than a few years; court files show that he was the subject of an eviction filing from an apartment on Avalon Way last summer.

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UPDATE: Wall fire at house in Arbor Heights; no one hurt http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/house-fire-call-in-arbor-heights-2/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/house-fire-call-in-arbor-heights-2/#comments Thu, 05 Nov 2015 06:29:58 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=328189

10:29 PM: A sizable Seattle Fire response is headed for a house fire reported in the 11200 block of 35th SW [map]. It’s believed to have originated in a gas fireplace. More to come.

10:35 PM: Per scanner, “fireplace started a wall fire.” Everyone is reported to be out safely.

10:55 PM: Our crew is on scene. Some smoke visible, and firefighters working on the wall.

Some of the responding units are being dismissed. We’ve confirmed that no one is hurt.

11:00 PM: The fire has just been declared “tapped.”

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FOLLOWUP: Police circulate surveillance photos in connection with this morning’s arsons, but don’t think they’re linked to recent string http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/followup-police-circulate-surveillance-images-in-connection-with-this-mornings-arsons-which-they-dont-believe-are-linked-to-recent-string/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/followup-police-circulate-surveillance-images-in-connection-with-this-mornings-arsons-which-they-dont-believe-are-linked-to-recent-string/#comments Sat, 31 Oct 2015 23:59:33 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=327734

Following up on the two dumpster fires covered here early this morning – police have released the two surveillance images above and below:

They want to hear from anyone who recognizes the person in the images, which are clearly from the scene of the fire in a dumpster behind/underneath the Senior Center of West Seattle, along SW Oregon east of California SW.

(WSB reader photo, by Aaron)
The update says witnesses describe the suspect as “a 20-year-old male with a slight build, wearing a red and grey sweatshirt.” The other fire was reported in the same time frame – around 2:30 am – in a dumpster on the alley behind the California/Alaska building where businesses including Easy Street Records are located. As we reported in our early-morning coverage, both fires were put out relatively quickly, and police converged on both scenes.

Police also say they do NOT believe the fires are related to the recent High Point/Morgan arsons but they do want to hear from anyone who thinks they know the person in the photos – please call 911.

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UPDATE: Two dumpster fires, minutes apart, along alleys in West Seattle Junction http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/two-dumpster-fires-moments-apart-in-west-seattle-junction/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/two-dumpster-fires-moments-apart-in-west-seattle-junction/#comments Sat, 31 Oct 2015 09:48:01 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=327662

(1st and 5th photos by WSB’s Katie Meyer)
2:48 AM: Firefighters are on the scene right now of two fires, both described as being in dumpsters, in The Junction, a block and minutes apart. More to come.

(This photo & next two by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
3:04 AM: One is on the alley west of Easy Street Records (photo above this paragraph), the other (top and next photo) in the carport under the Senior Center. Too soon to say if they are related to the recent arsons in High Point and Morgan, but indications are that these were set.

3:33 AM: SFD’s investigator (Marshal 5) is taking a look at the fires first; police are continuing to search the area.

Both fires were reported around 2:30 am.

No building damage reported so far but both of these dumpsters were in positions where that could have happened. This area is about two miles from the most recent arson in the series that police have been investigating – early Wednesday, October 21st, in a recycling bin at 40th and Morgan.

4:35 PM: SPD says they don’t think these arsons are related to the recent string, but they do have a surveillance image. We’re writing a separate update but in the meantime – see the new information/imagery here.

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Fire callout on Beach Drive http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/fire-callout-on-beach-drive/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/fire-callout-on-beach-drive/#comments Mon, 26 Oct 2015 02:06:18 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=327164 For those who wondered about the multiple-unit fire callout in the 4500 block of Beach Drive SW, just south of Me-Kwa-Mooks Park: We’re at the scene; small fire inside the house, out very quickly, and the units still here are wrapping up; the front of the house is being ventilated with a fan.

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WEST SEATTLE ARSONS: Another fire scrutinized; $10,000 reward; SPD update at MoCA meeting http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/west-seattle-arsons-another-fire-scrutinized-10000-reward/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/west-seattle-arsons-another-fire-scrutinized-10000-reward/#comments Wed, 21 Oct 2015 23:00:02 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=326704 4 PM: Here’s what’s new in the arson investigation:

Investigators were back in Morgan Junction at midday today, hours after the 2:36 am recycling-bin arson, which has been added to the list of set fires that, as first reported here last night, now dates back nine days. But those investigators weren’t just taking another look at the 40th/Morgan fire that destroyed a bin and charred a fence. We saw them also examining this:

At mid-morning today, two nearby residents called our attention to that spot of burned vegetation on the same side of Morgan as the early-morning bin fire, about a block east/uphill. The SFD call log does not show a callout for it, but neither resident could recall seeing the damage before this morning. So far, Seattle Police haven’t officially added it to the list. But for the overall series of arsons, they are now widely publicizing the $10,000 reward listed on the signs we’ve been showing you – it’s now available for information that solves this fire-setting spree. Here are the locations shown on the map included in their updated SPD Blotter post:

As Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis confirmed to WSB at last night’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, the first fire was set in a trash can on the lawn of a vacant home in the 6500 block of 34th SW. The Seattle Fire log shows that response at 2:40 am Monday, October 12th. Today’s SPD Blotter update says another arson happened at the same time at a nearby bus stop on SW Morgan, where a burning box was found.

Then came the fires set beneath two cars parked next to each other in the 2700 block of SW Sylvan Heights Drive last Sunday morning.

One car’s owner told WSB that the fires were set in some kind of box placed under the cars. That fire callout was at 4:50 am.

On Monday morning at 3:16 am, SFD was called to a waste-bin fire outside the southeast side of the High Point rental-office building at 35th and Holly, a building whose other tenants include a mosque. Though the fire was put out before too much damage was done, you’ll recall it flared up 11 hours later, at 2 pm, bringing a huge response.

The flareup led to serious damage, especially to the building’s mansard-style roof.

Then came this morning’s fire in the recycling bin in the Morgan-facing driveway of a house in the 6500 block of 40th SW. Police responded quickly, as did SFD, but searching the area was a challenge because of thick fog. We just asked SPD again if there’s any hint of a description of a suspect, person of interest, vehicle, anything – so far, Officer Lauren Lovanhill told us, the answer to that is “no.” If you have any information that might help the investigation, don’t hesitate to call 911 or 800-55-ARSON. And in the meantime, consider taking steps to keep the arsonist(s) from finding an easy target – here again is the flyer that’s been distributed around the area, and was shared at last night’s WSCPC meeting:

You can also see it on SPD Blotter. SPD, by the way, says federal ATF investigators are working with them, and that they are checking other jurisdictions to see if anything else might be linked. So far, none of the fires have led to injuries.

ADDED 8:39 PM: Capt. Davis spoke to the Morgan Community Association‘s quarterly meeting tonight, talking about the arsons. No major new information but we recorded it on video so you could hear for yourself:

Seattle firefighters from Engine 37 also were there, and presented the type of information you see above, about keeping your home and its periphery clear of anything that might be a “target” for an arsonist.

–Tracy Record, WSB editor

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UPDATE: Another arson – recycling-bin fire in Morgan Junction http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/recycling-bin-fire-under-investigation-in-morgan-junction/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/recycling-bin-fire-under-investigation-in-morgan-junction/#comments Wed, 21 Oct 2015 10:12:31 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=326646

(WSB photos)
3:12 AM: A recycling-bin fire wouldn’t usually draw an immediate Seattle Police response – but the recycling-bin fire just after 2:30 am alongside a house on SW Morgan, just west of 40th SW, happened within a mile of the unsolved recent arsons.

The fire marshal has just arrived to investigate, and police we talked to on the scene emphasized it was too soon to declare this related, but they’re taking no chances – as we learned at last night’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, three small fires, at least one in a trash container, are also being scrutinized in the ongoing investigation – those date back as far as October 12th, before the Sylvan Ridge car arsons last Sunday and the High Point office building arson on Monday.

There’s heavy fog in Morgan and Gatewood right now, complicating things for officers looking around the area (a searchlight was shone on our car as we headed away eastbound). We’ll update when there’s more information.

8:07 AM: The now-too-familiar sign is up on the charred fence by the burned bin – ARSON, with the hotline to call if you have any information for investigators – 800-55-ARSON. Or, call 911. (Photo added.)

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ARSON INVESTIGATION: Firefighters distributing flyers door-to-door http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/arson-investigation-firefighters-distributing-flyers-door-to-door/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/arson-investigation-firefighters-distributing-flyers-door-to-door/#comments Tue, 20 Oct 2015 02:42:53 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=326527 If you live on or near 35th SW, in Gatewood, High Point, and some distance north, you might have received this flyer:

In case you hadn’t seen it, we wanted to show you that flyer, sent to us by multiple readers who have received it from firefighters going door-to-door tonight, in the wake of two arsons – the two cars set on fire in the Sylvan Ridge area early Sunday (WSB coverage here), and the fire set early today at 35th/Holly, the Seattle Housing Authority office building whose other tenants include a mosque (WSB morning coverage here; afternoon coverage of the flareup that further damaged the building is here). As of this afternoon, investigators were saying they had NOT found any evidence to link the two cases, so far; no word of any arrests, or even subject descriptions, yet.

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UPDATE: Another fire call at 35th and Holly, possible hotspot from early-morning arson http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/fire-call-at-35th-and-holly/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/fire-call-at-35th-and-holly/#comments Mon, 19 Oct 2015 21:12:49 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=326494

2:12 PM: Fire crews are back at 6558 35th SW. The road is blocked at Holly. More to come.

2:20 PM: More fire crews continue to arrive. Firefighters are focused on the roof. Avoid the area – 35th is blocked south of Morgan and the side streets are jammed.

2:40 PM: Added photos (and Instagram video below). Firefighters are cutting into the building’s mansard-style roof.

The response has brought in multiple ladder trucks, another sign that this fire is centered atop the building, which – if you missed our coverage of this morning’s arson – is home to the Seattle Housing Authority’s High Point rental office as well as other tenants including a mosque.

2:51 PM: While we are still awaiting official information at the scene, a High Point resident says in comments that the homeowners’ association has sent e-mail describing this as a rekindled hot spot from this morning. Via the scanner, we’ve heard SFD make plans to keep “fire watch” on scene – which is typical when there’s concern a fire might re-ignite.

3:04 PM: Seattle Fire spokesperson Lt. Sue Stangl has just spoken to us and the citywide media at the scene but will not confirm that it’s a hotspot – she says their investigator is still on the way, and firefighters are still working on the roof to make sure there’s nothing else smoldering/burning. Via scanner, meantime, we’re hearing that they’re trying to move crews around so 35th SW can be reopened, but in the meantime, we’ll say it again – AVOID THE AREA – 35th is blocked south of Morgan and that’s jammed side streets such as 34th and 36th.

3:35 PM UPDATE: The fire has just been declared “tapped.” Arson investigators are at the scene (photo above). 35th SW has just reopened northbound and should have a southbound lane open soon – though we’d still advise avoiding it, as it’ll be “one lane for a (short distance) right at Holly” for a while.

4:16 PM: Commenter Nora confirms 35th is open again.

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UPDATE: Arson at High Point management office; police say no connection so far to Sylvan Heights car arsons http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/west-seattle-crime-watch-arson-at-high-point-management-office/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/west-seattle-crime-watch-arson-at-high-point-management-office/#comments Mon, 19 Oct 2015 13:12:55 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=326449 (SCROLL DOWN for midday updates – SEPARATE COVERAGE OF AFTERNOON FLAREUP IS HERE)

6:12 AM: Another arson in the High Point area this morning – second morning in a row. As you can see in our photo, “arson” is the declaration on the sign that’s up at the Seattle Housing Authority-operated office on the northeast corner of 35th and Holly [map] after someone set a fire outside its basement entrance on the Holly side just after 3 am. No one was hurt. Seattle Police and Fire investigators are looking into this; it happened less than 24 hours after two cars were set ablaze in the Sylvan Ridge area on the southeast edge of High Point, about half a mile away, though there’s no word on whether this is related – we’ll be following up on that later this morning, and also re-inquiring about the 35th/Austin (ex-Red Star Pizza) fire early Thursday. Back to this morning’s fire – staffers are already at the office cleaning up after water damage and boarding a window; they say it will be open for business today.

11:16 AM: The building is also where the High Point Masjid As Sunnah mosque meets. We stopped again at the scene to check on the cleanup, and staff told us the SHA office side is what was damaged, not the mosque’s area.

SPD tells us they’ll have information to release later this hour, so we’ll have another update coming up.

11:39 AM: Here’s what SPD has just released via its “blotter,” saying they’re not seeing a connection so far between what happened this morning and what happened early Sunday:

Seattle police responded with Seattle fire to three intentionally set fires over the weekend in the High Point Neighborhood in West Seattle.

Police and firefighters responded to the 2700 block of SW Sylvan Heights on Sunday around 4:45 AM after receiving a report of two cars on fire.

Both vehicles were parked on the street and suffered significant damage before the flames were extinguished.

In a separate incident about 24 hours later, officers and firefighters responded to a fire in an entryway of a commercial building in the 6500 block of 35 Ave SW around 3:30 AM Monday. The fire caused exterior damage to the lower level of the building as well interior damage as the flames passed through a broken window.

SPD arson detectives are investigating the two incidents, but say they have not found anything connecting the cases. Police do not currently believe Monday’s fire on 35th Ave SW was set with the intent of targeting any of the tenants of three offices on the property.

Detectives are working with the Seattle Fire Department and our federal partners at ATF on these cases. If you have any information about these incidents, please call 911.

11:52 AM: We just called to doublecheck with SPD to be sure that by “three intentionally set fires” they meant the two cars plus this morning’s fire, not something additional, and Officer Lauren Lovanhill says yes, that’s what it means. She also confirms that the ex-Red Star Pizza fire from last week is NOT considered arson nor related in any way. (Later, SFD told us SPD is investigating that fire, though, because of its proximity.)

3:01 PM: If you haven’t seen our later story yet – fire broke out at this building again an hour ago, bringing a huge callout. We are covering this separately – go here.

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West Seattle Crime Watch: 2 cars set on fire in Sylvan Ridge http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/west-seattle-crime-watch-2-cars-set-on-fire-in-sylvan-ridge/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/west-seattle-crime-watch-2-cars-set-on-fire-in-sylvan-ridge/#comments Sun, 18 Oct 2015 16:28:15 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=326385

(WSB photos)
9:28 AM: Two cars are seriously damaged after someone set them on fire in Sylvan Ridge, east of High Point, early this morning.

It happened around 4:40 am; the cars were parked in front of townhouses in the 2700 block of Sylvan Heights Drive [map]. Residents tell WSB the fire was set in some kind of container placed under the cars:

He also showed us damage inside his car, in the back seat, which held a car seat, not seen in our photo because the fire even triggered an airbag:

No one was hurt; another resident tells us the other burned car belongs to friends who were visiting from out of town, and she says fast action by neighbors kept the flames from spreading to nearby townhomes, which don’t have much setback from the street. This happened four days after an early-morning car fire at 30th and Graham, half a mile away; we never got final word on the cause of that one, but we’re checking with police about this morning’s fires and will be asking again about that one too.

12:50 PM UPDATE: Just talked with SPD spokesperson Officer Lauren Lovanhill. The 30th/Graham fire last week was NOT related – she says that report is in the system now and says the car owner was at the scene and told officers it seemed to be a mechanical problem that sparked when he was trying to start his car. She says that while the SPD Arson/Bomb Squad was notified about this morning’s incident, they didn’t go to the scene, so the investigation is in the hands of local officers, as well as the SFD investigator (Marshal 5), who did respond; no witnesses, so they have no suspect description(s) so far.

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UPDATE: Fire call in Highland Park http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/fire-call-in-highland-park-3/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/10/fire-call-in-highland-park-3/#comments Sat, 17 Oct 2015 23:42:33 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=326340 4:42 PM: Seattle Fire has a big callout for a possible house fire at 11th SW and SW Henderson. We’re en route to check.

4:55 PM: Last truck was driving away, no sign of a fire or of water use, as we arrived, so looks like this was another didn’t-pan-out call.

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