West Seattle, Washington
(OCTOBER 4TH UPDATE: You can now donate $ online – scroll down for updates)
12:44 PM: We finally have additional information on how to help the dozens of people who lost their homes and belongings in Tuesday’s 3-alarm fire at the Lam Bow Apartments.
Many are continuing to be sheltered, with the help of the American Red Cross, at the Delridge Community Center. However, we learned during a visit there on Wednesday, they cannot directly accept donations, so they ask that you please do NOT go there.
Good news is, there are bins right across the street at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW), thanks to the teamwork of Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association (which owns and operates Youngstown) and the West Seattle Helpline, which has offered some assistance directly to the fire victims, including bus tickets – the type of emergency help that the Helpline is known for.
When we talked with DCC and Red Cross workers helping with the shelter, they stressed that adult items were most needed, but there are some needs for kids and babies too. Here is the list we were given as of late yesterday:
Sweats, shirts 16 XL woman
sweats shirts XXL/ size 40 man
baby clothing 3 months, diapers size 1
(the above is for a family of 3)
shoes blouse pants, women’s size 8, medium, medium
shoes blouse pants for 15 year old girl, size 8
blanket that is NOT wool for someone who is allergic
boys clothing sizes 6+, 8+, 10
underwear for boys, size 4
girls’ underwear sizes 7, 10
socks/underwear for men, sizes M, L, XL
socks, underwear for women, sizes M, L, XL
diapers sizes 1 and 5
blankets and pillows
LONG dresses and skirts for females sizes S, M, L, XL
shirts for women (long sleeves) S, M, L, XL
hygiene products for males and females
pants men’s sizes 32/32 and 34/32
men’s shirts, coats M, L, XL
ADDED: size 28 women’s pants
Note that the 5-week-old baby is a boy
Please donate new, or if gently used, clean items, and again, long sleeved tops and long pants for women.
Youngstown asks that you drop off donations between 10 am and 6:30 pm weekdays.
Also – as mentioned in comments on our Wednesday followup, there is a collection drive at 24-Hour Fitness in Westwood Village, and Sanislo Elementary is collecting some items from its school community during its Multicultural Potluck event tonight.
And you can support the ongoing American Red Cross sheltering service – which they provide to many victims in all types of disasters large and small.
Meantime, SFD has not yet announced the results of its investigation into how the fire started.
ADDED 1:15 PM: Just as we were publishing this update, SFD announced:
The investigation showed the fire started on the exterior of the building. Fire Investigators were unable to determine a specific cause. The damage was estimated at 3.3 million dollars.
ADDED THURSDAY NIGHT: Thanks to the person who texted that West Seattle High School is collecting items for at least one family. They shared this image of a message from a school-community communication list with the requests and how to drop them off.
We expect to have an updated list sometime Friday with more information on how to help, so please check back.
FRIDAY AFTERNOON: Youngstown Arts Center’s David Bestock says in a comment that what they REALLY need is volunteer help to sort through what’s been dropped off. 4408 Delridge Way SW, until 6 pm today.
FRIDAY EVENING: And a new update – NO MORE DONATIONS, please, as explained here. We’ll continue to follow this so that when there’s word of other needs, we can update.
1:28 PM: Here’s what’s happening so far today in the aftermath of the 3-alarm fire that displaced almost 50 people at the Lam Bow Apartments at 6955 Delridge Way SW (our Tuesday afternoon-through-evening coverage is here):
*Seattle Fire remains on “fire watch” at the site, in case of hotspots. We stopped by the scene this morning and that’s when the photos in this update were taken.
*No cause announced yet, but SFD spokesperson Lt. Harold Webb tells WSB the information should be available before day’s end.
For everyone asking how to help the 47 people who are unable to return to their apartments:
*The Red Cross will have a shelter again tonight for residents who need it, at the Delridge Community Center. But a spokesperson tells us, “In terms of tangible needs, we have not heard any reports of unmet needs in the shelter.”
*They and the Seattle Housing Authority, which owns the Lam Bow, have not heard yet of organized donation drives, nor of a specific request for specific items.
*A commenter says Sanislo Elementary is organizing a food drive for two families. We’re awaiting details on that. (Today was a 2-hour-early dismissal day for Seattle Public Schools, so don’t go to the school now.) 6:24 PM UPDATE: They’re collecting items during tomorrow night’s Multicultural Potluck, as explained here.
*This afternoon at City Hall, the mayor, police chief, and SHA director will “formally recognize the heroic efforts of Seattle Police Department and Seattle Housing Authority personnel in responding to yesterday’s apartment fire.” We will be covering that separately.
More updates as we get information. For everyone who wants to help, please keep in mind that those who lost their homes and belongings will be affected for a long time, and it might take a while for “how best to help” to emerge, so be patient and keep that good energy going until we hear where best to apply it.
2:18 PM: We’re at City Hall for the aforementioned recognition event and have talked to the Seattle Housing Authority rep, Kerry Coughlin, who’s here. She said the Fire Department has just turned the damaged building – one of two that comprise the Lam Bow – to them, and they’re boarding it up; a long list of inspections and assessments is ahead. They’re also continuing to work, she confirms, on organizing a list of needs and who can coordinate donations.
3:02 PM: SHA director Andrew Lofton elaborated on that during Q&A after the ceremony. He said that they are working to identify a fiscal agent for donations, among other things, and hope to have some news on that “within 48 hours.”
6:25 PM: There’s lots of coordination going on between people who are trying to organize ways to help and we’re expecting to have a clearer picture tomorrow (Thursday).
(9:41 PM TOPLINE: SFD on “fire watch” all night at scene of 3-alarm fire. 47 people displaced; Red Cross helping. No one was hurt. No word yet on cause)
(Added: Video contributed by next-door neighbor Seth – read his story below in 5:10 pm update – that’s the back, west-facing side of building)
2:45 PM: SFD is calling out a second alarm. This is just north of the busy Delridge/Orchard/Sylvan intersection so avoid that area TFN.
2:53 PM: Via scanner, one person is reported injured, and this is described as a “significant exterior fire on several units.” Our crew is arriving in the area and confirms “serious smoke.”
3:01 PM: The fire also is reported to be in the attic.
3:05 PM: For those asking about the helicopters, they are just TV. SFD does not have helicopters.
(WSB Instagram video – mouse over image to find and click play button)
3:15 PM: SFD is continuing to search the building. They also have called for more units.
3:27 PM: Via scanner, we hear they are calling for the Red Cross, which assists victims in situations like this – the number of units affected could be in the double digits. And we’ve confirmed this fire has now gone to 3 alarms (each “full response” group of units is one alarm, so this is roughly triple what would usually respond to a building fire).
3:43 PM: Firefighters are focusing now on “hot spots.” Meantime, as mentioned in comment discussion, this is a Seattle Housing Authority complex. The SHA website says the complex has 51 units; we’re expecting an official briefing at the scene momentarily, to find out among other things how many units are affected.
4:05 PM: More than three dozen SFD units remain on the scene – see the list here.
Just heard from our crew at the scene, after the briefing by SFD spokesperson Lt. Harold Webb. He says they have no information yet on how this started. (Added: Video of Lt. Webb’s entire briefing)
Contrary to an early report, no one has been hurt – it appears at this point that everyone got out OK. At least 20 units are damaged or destroyed – see the photo we added above, showing how much of the roof is gone in the building – so this is affecting a lot of families, and as mentioned, the Red Cross disaster response team is coming out to figure out how to help.
4:17 PM: Metro buses are being brought into the scene so that residents have someplace to go in the short run. And we’ve heard back from SHA communications director Kerry Coughlin, who says, “SHA has numerous senior property management and communications staff on the scene. We absolutely will make sure all affected residents will have housing until their units are safe and restored. We will work with the Red Cross and other community partners as needed and use emergency hotel vouchers or other resources as needed.”
5:10 PM: Some of the units are being dismissed. Please continue to avoid Delridge/Orchard TFN; Metro says Route 120 is still being rerouted. Meantime, we have added video at the top of this report, taken even before SFD arrived, shared by next-door neighbor Seth, who says, “I live next door. I saw smoke, ran around the side and saw flame and smoke and didn’t hear any alarms. I saw one cop run in the south entrance and up the stairs so I ran in the downstairs hallway to activate an alarm, which thankfully worked. I took the video right after. Pretty scary stuff. I went up the driveway to our house and grabbed our cat and car and headed out. I’m soooo grateful for SFD right now. I’m convinced they saved our house.” We are also adding, inline above, several more photos by WSB’s Patrick Sand taken during the peak of the firefight. He’ll be going back to the scene later this evening to follow up.
7:50 PM: Delridge Way has reopened.
8:14 PM: From our return to the scene – the Red Cross is there:
47 people were displaced; 35 are accepting help from the Red Cross, according to spokesperson Jennifer Blackwood, who says a temporary shelter is set up at Delridge Community Center for tonight and maybe tomorrow night. Cots were being set up there and dinner was waiting for the residents, who were getting a Metro bus ride to DCC. It was stressed again, if you want to help, please do it via the Red Cross. (Commenter McBride made that point eloquently earlier.)
We also talked with Seattle Housing Authority reps at the scene. More on that shortly.
9:41 PM: SFD remains on “fire watch” all night, meaning at least one crew will be on scene in case there’s a flareup – this is fairly standard with major fires. No word yet on the cause; the investigation continues tomorrow.
SHA told us at the scene that they also have private security to help SFD keep the scene secure. They in the meantime are working with building managers on the next step. They’ll go in to assess the damage once SFD gives them the go-ahead, possibly as soon as tomorrow. That’s also when they will start working to find SHA housing for those who don’t have family or friends to stay with; they stress that they will do their best to keep families close to the schools their children attend and to ensure people are still able to get to their jobs.
They also wanted to thank their on-site managers, SFD, and the SW Precinct police for their quick response and getting everyone out safely after the fire broke out.
7:02 PM: Big SFD call for a possible house fire on 13th SW near Trenton [map]. We are on the way.
7:20 PM: SFD’s call closed before we got there but here’s what we learned from neighbors and police on the scene: Some people drove up and set off a box of fireworks that went off, with sparks and smoke, in multiple directions. That’s what led to the fire call. Multiple small fires were sparked but put out quickly by neighbors.
7:34 PM: Added above – our photo of the fireworks tossed from a car. The neighbors say the cap was left behind too.
3:50 PM: What started as a house-fire response has now switched to a “rubbish fire that spread to brush” in the 7300 block of California SW in Gatewood [map]. We’re on the way to check it out.
4:01 PM: The last SFD unit was pulling away as we got there. So, it’s out, and wasn’t major.
3:57 PM: A second major fire call is working right now, this one in the 5600 block of West Marginal Way SW [map]. In this one, we’re hearing by scanner, there is some concern about propane tanks – stay away from the area.
4:04 PM: Per scanner, this fire is reported to involve containers on a barge. The response includes at least one SFD fireboat.
4:13 PM: The response has been upgraded to include “hazmat” so you will see and hear even more units heading to it. We have just arrived in the area. West Marginal Way is NOT blocked off – the fire units are all on the east side.
4:24 PM: The additional responders are arriving now and West Marginal is filling up – not sure how long it is going to remain open. We’ve added a photo of firefighters getting water on the burning container(s).
4:28 PM: Media crews are being kept back a ways for obvious reasons. Via scanner, it’s reported that the fire is believed to have started in garbage inside the container(s).
4:40 PM: Still an active firefight. We haven’t heard of any injuries but no one is providing official information to us or other gathered media yet, either. Meantime, the Coast Guard is helping keep vessels away from the fire zone; one of our crews is going to go see if any of this is visible from anywhere else along the river.
4:51 PM: Just got a briefing from SFD’s Lt. Harold Webb (video added below), who says basically half the city’s firefighting force is here.
…including Chief Harold Scoggins.
Even more units are arriving now. No injuries, we’ve confirmed. What they’re doing now, Lt. Webb says, is trying to cool off the burning containers so they can get a chance at taking them apart and figuring out what caught fire.
He mentioned the same thing we had heard via scanner – they’re not entirely sure what’s in the containers but garbage is believed to be at least part of it.
5:21 PM: Thanks to Andrea for the photo above – looking toward the fire scene from Highland Park – and Stacy for the tip that boat traffic is being kept out of the area, so if you’re looking to head south on the Duwamish River from the West Seattle Bridge vicinity, you won’t be able to, TFN. Looking toward the fire scene from the east shore of the river, Patrick Kelly shared this photo via Twitter:
Lots of firefighting foam in the water.
5:43 PM: Some units are being dismissed as this winds down. Scanner discussion also indicates the exclusion zone on the river will be reduced.
6:53 PM: We just went over to check on how the wrapup is going. More SFD units left, including the last one (Engine 29) that was still parked along West Marginal Way. Lt. Webb, currently serving as public-information officer, was about to leave too, and told us they would still have a presence on site for a few hours. Forklifts are continuing to pull containers off the barge where the fire started:
8:29 PM: SFD says “spontaneous combustion of garbage” is what sparked the fire.
3:51 PM: Firefighters are at a house near 34th SW and SW Findlay, with investigating unit Marshal 5 on the way to investigate a fire there.
4:12 PM: We stopped here briefly on our way to the big call on West Marginal Way (separate story). Toplines: Small fire on a deck, now out; house was undergoing remodeling; no one home when it happened; no one hurt.
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).