West Seattle, Washington
[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.
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.