West Seattle, Washington
2:31 PM: Seattle Fire is responding to a car-fire call listed as Delridge/West Marginal. We’re getting multiple reports that it’s generating a big column of smoke. We’re on the way to check it out.
2:45 PM: Almost at the scene. A reader photo just in shows this is under the high-level bridge, just east of where West Marginal turns into Spokane.
2:57 PM UPDATE: A BMW is what caught fire and burned. Both people inside got out OK. (Photo added above.) SFD says the occupants thought it might have been an electrical fire.
5:17 PM: Per scanner – as our crew heads that way – we’re hearing that it’s a small fire, now tapped, and the response is being scaled back.
5:30 PM: Firefighters at the scene tell our crew that this was a kitchen fire – but no one was home, so they’re waiting for a resident to return so they can talk to someone about what happened. No major damage; the house is being ventilated with fans right now.
10:37 PM: Seattle Fire dispatched a full response to a possible house fire in the 2100 block of 47th SW (map). Checking on it.
10:57 PM: Finally got here. Nothing on the scanner in the interim so clearly not anything major, but Ladder 11 is still here.
11:04 PM: Finally got to talk with the crew, which is leaving. Smoke in the house was determined to be from an electrical circuit. No fire.
FIRST REPORT, 2:38 AM: Big Seattle Fire response to a commercial building in the 6900 block of West Marginal Way SW [map]. What we’ve heard via scanner so far is that it “came in as an automatic fire alarm” and then some kind of heat/fire was found inside. We’re on our way.
2:45 AM: Still en route, but hearing via scanner that what firefighters are describing as a “small fire” is “under control.”
2:52 AM: We’ve just arrived in the area. West Marginal is completely blocked by fire equipment and police just south of the bottom of the Highland Park Way hill. We’ve parked as close as we can get and our photographer is heading to the scene on foot from here.
3:08 AM: Some of the units are being dismissed; SFD’s investigator is on the way. Some of the discussion has mentioned marijuana growing inside the building, and city and state records indicate that it was remodeled earlier this year to be a licensed “urban farm.”
(The building is the former HQ of United States Seafoods, which moved to Lake Union more than a year ago, though its signage is still on this building, as you can see in the photo above.)
3:33 AM: We’ve talked with the SFD
public-information officer battalion chief on scene. (Added: video of the quick briefing.)
The fire was in a small room, contained, and extinguished.
SFD crews will stay here for a while on fire watch; the cause remains under investigation. No injuries.
4:06 AM: West Marginal is reopening both ways.
1:33 PM: SFD says an “overheated electrical installation” was to blame for the fire.
4:15 PM: We’re on our way for a look at another brush fire, this time in the Delridge/Myrtle area. Holli texted to report that northbound Delridge is blocked in the area, just north of Sylvan/Orchard/Dumar.
4:27 PM: Thanks to Ian for further description just as we got to the area – the fire is on the slope east of the northbound side of Delridge just north of the Shell station at that intersection. Northbound Delridge is still closed at that point. Added a photo we took while heading west through the intersection (it’s still open to WB/EB traffic).
4:36 PM: Another photo added above from our photographer, who walked into the scene.
4:44 PM: Firefighters were still checking on the cause, but warn that slopes like that (and the one along 509) are very dry right now. Meantime, NB Delridge should reopen in a few minutes, they told us.
[Seattle Fire Department photo via Twitter]
2:47 PM: Thanks to the texter who called our attention to this – Seattle Fire and North Highline Fire are on a big brush fire just east of West Seattle, along Highway 509 south of Cloverdale. SFD reports via Twitter that it’s about 5,000 square feet and is under control; we’re on our way for a look.
2:56 PM: The one thing we’ve seen so far, going over 509 on Cloverdale to look for it, is that southbound 509 is at a dead stop. Don’t even think about heading that way.
3:04 PM: The burned area is upslope on the west side of southbound 509. Some firefighting equipment is on the highway, and that’s the reason for the backup. Just tweeted by SFD:
— Seattle Fire Dept (@SeattleFire) August 4, 2016
3:29 PM: You can check this WSDOT cam to see whether the backup has cleared – still visible through the trees at lower right as of right now.
4:16 PM: Just went past the area again via northbound 509; the fire crews are gone and southbound is flowing normally.
12 PM: Thanks to the texter who let us know about fire units headed westbound on the bridge – they were heading to a potential “fire in building” callout in the 1700 block of Alki SW (map). We’re checking on it.
12:07 PM: The call has already closed, meaning all SFD units dismissed, so – no fire. (You’ll see Ladder 11 and Medic 32 nearby, though, as there’s now an unrelated medic call at another building in the same block.)
We happened to be driving 35th SW less than an hour ago when we noticed Engine 37 heading to a “brush fire” call a block away, so we followed. A patch of tall, dry grass was burning on the vacant, to-be-developed lot on the north side of Graham at 34th SW. As we tweeted while standing there, it was out literally within two minutes of the Seattle Fire crew’s arrival.
Seemed too small to mention here, but we heard High Point management just put out a notice about it, so in case you were worried, this is what happened.
1:39 PM: A “full response” Seattle Fire call to an apartment building in the 8400 block of Delridge Way SW has been downsized already. But we’re en route to see what’s happening.
1:50 PM: “Grease fire,” we’re told. Nobody hurt, but some damage to the apartment. Cloverdale is impassable at the moment east of Delridge because of the fire units.
1:22 PM: Second full-response fire call of the day – this time, in the 8800 block of Fauntleroy Way SW, which is across from Lincoln Park. More to come.
1:28 PM: The address has been updated – further south – and is closer to the ferry dock.
1:32 PM: Still waiting to hear from our crew, but the call has closed. (Added) They arrived just in time to talk to the incident commander, who says it was smoke from a “cardboard box in the back yard.” All over, units gone.
8:59 AM: Thanks for all the tips. SFD has a “fire in building” call in the 3000 block of SW Bataan [map]. More to come.
9:03 AM: SFD describes this as a “room fire” and says it’s “tapped.”
9:09 AM: Some of the responding units already are being dismissed. The huge initial response is standard for a fire in a residential building. SFD is calling out its fire investigator to determine how the fire started. No word of injuries but our crew will doublecheck on arrival.
9:26 AM: We’ve verified on site with the incident commander that no one is hurt. This is a multi-family residential building. After some light smoke was seen, firefighters are on the roof making sure there’s no “extension,” but otherwise they were awaiting the aforementioned investigator – who just arrived. We’ve added a photo atop the story.
11:56 PM: Another fire call – four units are headed for what’s initially listed as a “dumpster fire with exposure” (meaning possible risk to a building nearby) in the 1800 block of SW Roxbury, city side. We’re monitoring.
12:02 AM: The call’s been scaled down.
ORIGINAL REPORT, 9:54 PM: SFD is sending a full ‘fire in building’ response to the 4800 block of Delridge Way. More to come.
10:12 PM: Info via scanner was impossible to get, so we’re finally at the scene to see what’s going on. Delridge is blocked off at Hudson.
10:22 PM: The fire was at a house across from Pearls coffee/tea shop. It was caused by a propane BBQ, SFD tells us, NOT fireworks related.
A woman and child got out safely. No injuries.
11:03 PM: Back at HQ and adding photos. The fire damage was largely confined to the front of the house. We won’t be able to go back and check on the road but should be open again, since SFD has closed this call completely, meaning no engines left on scene.
11:15 PM: Several Seattle Fire crews are responding to the 9200 block of 9th SW, where multiple reports are coming in about an apparent brush fire. The first crews arriving say it’s close to a fence but not to a house, and they suspect fireworks, so they’re calling for SPD. We’re en route to check it out.
11:35 PM: Fire charred a yard. Out now, no one hurt. SPD officers are here investigating, as is SFD’s marshal.
11:48 PM: So far, fire investigators tell us, they believe this was indeed fireworks-related. Damage was limited to the yard; a nearby car is covered in ash. One neighbor told us she has a 9-month-old baby who couldn’t sleep because of the noise. Crews are packing up to leave.
Thanks to the texter who sent that photo from Lowman Beach, where what they describe as “upsetting” damage has just been done to its longstanding driftwood stack, upon which many a sunset viewer has sat, many a child has climbed. The Seattle Fire 911 log shows a one-engine “illegal burn” callout around quarter to 6 this morning (and just as we were about to publish this, an investigation callback minutes ago). For obvious reasons – all underscored by this photo – fires are only allowed in approved fire pits on Seattle beaches, and in West Seattle, Alki Beach is the only place you’ll find those (some still flout the rules, and “illegal burn” calls on the 911 log are not uncommon).
6:47 AM: Thanks to the texter who sent the photos from the aftermath of a car fire just before 5 am in the 6500 block of 42nd SW [map] in Morgan Junction. The car caught fire in a carport, they report, adding, “We all got evacuated; no one was hurt.”
SFD has already left the scene and closed the call; we will update when we find out more later this morning.
12:53 PM NOTE: We are now expecting to get that information closer to mid-or-late afternoon, and will update as soon as we do.
2:18 PM: Just talked with SFD Lt. Sue Stangl. She says the fire was ruled “accidental,” with $25,000 damage done to the carport structure, $12,000 to the vehicle, and $500 to its contents.
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.