West Seattle’s Engine 11 (in our photo) and Battalion 7 have just cleared the scene of a major house fire in White Center this morning, for which the Seattle Fire Department provided “mutual aid.” The fire caused major damage to a home in the 10000 block of 11th SW (map); full coverage including video is on our partner site White Center Now.
What started as a house-fire call this afternoon – but was quickly downgraded – seemed so small when we went by, we weren’t even going to mention it – until our followup question to Seattle Fire spokesperson Kyle Moore brought news of a heroic teen:
At 1:38 p.m. a 911 call came into a firefighter/dispatcher reporting a dryer fire at a home located in the 5900 block of 26th Avenue SW in West Seattle. When Engine Company 11 arrived they found the exterior-dryer-vent fire was extinguished thanks to the quick work of a teenage occupant of the house. The teen used a fire extinguisher to knock down the flames on the outer wall of the 2-story house before crews arrived.
While the exterior flames had been extinguished, the fire worked its way into the wall. Firefighters were able to cut holes into the wall and knock down all of the flames and hot spots. The damage estimate is several thousand dollars. There were no injuries.
Moore says the vent fire started with lint – which brings an important reminder to check the one at your home; here are safety tips from the National Fire Prevention Association.
8:19 AM: In case you’ve seen/heard the big fire response in the 8400 block of 16th SW – first crews on scene say it’s a dryer fire and “has not extended,” meaning it hasn’t spread further, so they’re canceling some of the units.
8:24 AM: What units remain on the call are still affecting traffic on 16th – which is busier than usual because of the repaving work on nearby Delridge – so avoid the area for a while.
9:55 AM: SFD has published an update on the fire, including identifying the location as an assisted-living facility whose residents were evacuated as a precaution:
The first 911 call came into firefighter/dispatchers at the Fire Alarm Center at 8:08 a.m. reporting smoke coming from the back of the one-story complex located in the 8400 block of 16th Avenue SW. Engine Company 11 arrived to find the staff had already evacuated the residents from the facility.
Firefighters were able to contain the fire to a dryer in the basement of the building. The fire was tapped within 4 minutes of firefighter arriving on scene. The damage was limited to the basement area.
The building had several fire protection systems in place including a sprinkler system and a fire alarm system which sounded allowing for the safe evacuation of the facility. There were no injuries.
3:55 PM: Seattle Fire is responding to Cal-Mor Circle, the cylindrical apartment building at 6420 California SW – and they have just confirmed it’s a “food on the stove” situation. That’s per the scanner; we’re headed over to doublecheck.
4:06 PM UPDATE: Fire crews are packing up, but until they’re gone, northbound traffic on California just north of Fauntleroy is blocked, so avoid this area for a bit.
4:27 PM UPDATE: Thomas reports in comments that northbound is reopening. No injuries reported, by the way.
7:32 PM: Seattle Fire says the big callout to the 9200 block of Delridge Way SW is for a basement fire, and that everyone is out OK. More to come.
7:51 PM: Our crew at the scene says firefighters report the smoke actually came from a piece of equipment that overheated in a big way – equipment used to put designs on T-shirts, we are told. Lots of smoke, no flames. No injuries.
9:50 AM: Seattle Fire is responding to a possible house fire in the 6500 block of 32nd SW. We are en route.
10:02 AM: Call closed before we arrived, last fire engine pulling away.
10:46 AM SIDE NOTE: To explain “closed” – on the live log of Seattle Fire Department 911 calls, a call that is “open,” still active, shows in green; when a call is closed – meaning no units are assigned to it any more – it turns blue. One other side note: If a call like this gets a big initial dispatch with lots of units, even if they all still show as “green,” it does NOT mean all those units are still on scene – the display does not allow unit-by-unit color change. A medic response might even show “green” without ANY unit remaining on scene, because it doesn’t close until a unit that has taken someone to the hospital is done with that part of the call.
(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
10:33 AM: Firefighters are reporting flames as they arrive at the scene of a house fire in the 3400 block of 44th SW (map). We’ll be there shortly.
10:44 AM UPDATE: No word of injuries so far. Firefighters have put out the call for investigative unit Marshal 5, which is standard operating procedure.
10:51 AM UPDATE: Firefighters tell our crew at the scene that this was a “small kitchen fire” and it’s now out. Nobody was home when it started. A neighbor saw the smoke and called 911.
12:48 PM UPDATE: One of the neighbors shares more in the comment section. Another one sent this photo of a dog that got out safely:
We’ll update here when there’s official information on the fire’s cause.
1:25 PM UPDATE: SFD says “overheated electrical wiring” caused the fire, and they’re “classifying (it) as an accidental fire.” Damage is estimated at $20,000; along with the dog shown above, another dog and a cat were rescued by firefighters, according to the SFD update on Fire Line.
12:26 PM: A big response is headed for a house-fire call in the 7100 block of 34th SW. Crews on the scene are seeing light smoke, but “no sign of fire,” and some units are being canceled. We’re on our way – updates shortly.
12:37 PM UPDATE: Firefighters say it was a kitchen problem (assessed in fire-department terminology as “food on the stove”). They have ventilation going to clear out the resulting smoke. No injuries reported.
6:13 PM: Fire crews have responded to a brush fire reported on the north end of Riverview Playfield. The scanner suggests arson is suspected and that someone was seen running away; the fire marshal has been called to investigate. No word of any injuries; we’re en route to check on damage. Also per the scanner, the fire is reported to have been in an area of roughly 6,100 square feet.
8:02 PM UPDATE: Thanks to Alan for the photo; he went over after the fire trucks left: “I hiked down to see where it was and took a picture. Sadly it appears to have been in a section that had recently been planted by Nature Consortium. You can see the melted grow tubes. Fortunately, it could have become much worse. The grass around it is tinder dry and we have a good breeze going.”
9:25 PM UPDATE: First units there say it appears to have started in a gutter and it appears to be out. Most of the units have been canceled.
9:31 PM UPDATE: Per scanner traffic, the fire may have been caused by “someone setting off flares” in the vicinity; police are looking around.
2:34 PM: If you saw all the Seattle Fire crews, they were responding to a possible house fire in the 7700 block of Highland Park Way SW – but most have just been canceled. We’re en route and will check at the scene to see what happened.
3:22 PM UPDATE: Couldn’t get anything definitive at the scene – just one engine left (photo) and not easy to pull over on the busy street – but whatever it was, it was being extinguished with a garden hose in the front yard.
(May 2012 WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli)
Last year, we reported on a house fire in the 8400 block of 20th SW. But in the days afterward, the story moved far beyond the fire itself, to become a story of neighbors helping neighbors. Today, we received a note from the home’s owners, Martha and Brian Mallett, who say they are finally back home, and wanted to share words of thanks:
We, Brian and Martha Mallett, victims of a house fire May 1, 2012, have returned home after being away for eleven months. We were cared for two days by the Red Cross, had a two-month stay in the West Seattle Motel (wonderful hospitality) and nine months in a big house on Orchard Street in Highland Park. Our home is brand new, some furniture is still missing but we have the essentials.
The community, our friends, and our family have given us so much to be grateful for. There have been phone calls, notes, cards with words of encouragement and gifts. There were so many good samaritans, we cannot name them all. Speaking of family, they have worked really hard to reach our intended goal. All these folks have given from the heart and we plan to pay forward. We credit Lisa and Randy Leininger and their followers, the Seattle Fire Department, and the Highland Park Improvement Club for contributing in a big way to our well-being. We love West Seattle and the people in it.
Lisa and Randy were the neighbors who organized a fundraiser days after the fire. They posed with Martha that day, and shared the photo with us:
Thanks to Martha and Brian for sharing the followup!
Big house-fire callout to Genesee Hill – 4100 block of 47th SW. First engine on scene reports nothing visible – turns out to be “food on the stove.” We’re en route to doublecheck, but just letting you know, in case you saw the big response, that’s what it’s about.
6:25 PM: There’s a car fire in the outside lane on the westbound West Seattle Bridge – M., who shared the photo, says it’s just past the ramp from 99. No word of any injuries.
6:50 PM: Fire call on it has already closed; no backups visible on cameras. So, good news, this does not seem to be a major commute impact.
1:45 PM: Firefighters are responding to a house-fire call in the 3900 block of SW Arroyo Drive (map), in southwesternmost West Seattle.
1:55 PM: There’s still smoke, according to radio communications.
Commenters and a caller reported black smoke initially, turning white after firefighters arrived and started putting water on the fire. Our crew should be there shortly. (Photo added above, courtesy of commenter Joel)
2:03 PM: The fire is reported to be under control. No word of any injuries so far.
2:11 PM: Our crew on the scene says the fire is in a building behind the home on this property, and the damage and smoke are clearly visible.
2:25 PM UPDATE: Our crew just talked to the incident commander, who in turn had been talking with the property owner. Nobody was home at the time; no injuries. The building had been used for storage, and its contents are heavily damaged. The cause is not yet known – we’ll update the story later when investigators make a determination.
(Photo by WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand)
Another short-lived fire call this morning is wrapping up right now in the 8600 block of 13th SW (map). The incident commander tells us a propane barbecue appears to be to blame for a small fire that damaged the back of the house. No injuries reported.
1:18 PM UPDATE: From SFD’s Kyle Moore:
The cause is a BBQ left on all night. It ignited the deck and the side of the house but the flames did not get into the home. The damage estimate is $30,000. The homeowner was home and tried to fight the fire with a garden hose after calling 911.
Just in case you heard/saw the big response – the initial call in the 8800 block of 20th SW (map) was for a possible house fire, but crews got there and discovered what Seattle Fire spokesperson Kyle Moore describes as a “rubbish fire” that was put out quickly.
1:21 PM UPDATE: Moore says the fire “was caused by improperly discarded smoking materials. The smoking materials ignited nearby combustibles and the porch. The damage estimate is less than $1,000. No one was home at the time of the fire.”
Just in case you saw or heard it – there was briefly a big fire response that’s now being scaled way back, after firefighters were told the homeowners were having woodstove trouble. The address was originally in the 7000 block of 47th SW but has been changed to Seaview Terrace (map).
Big response to what was reported as a possible house fire in the 4400 block of SW Juneau – but crews have just reported it appears to be a fence fire, and it’s tapped.
More utility news tonight: Seattle Public Utilities plans to start work tomorrow to ensure that the city’s remaining low-flow fire hydrants are clearly identifiable. It’s an issue that came glaringly to light during the August 2011 fire that destroyed a home in Arbor Heights while firefighters struggled to get an appropriate water flow. That area has seen hydrant and water-line upgrades since then, and the city reported later that year that it was working on how to clearly mark the low-flow hydrants that remain in service within city limits, about half of them in West Seattle. Here’s the SPU announcement:
Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) crews will install a red reflective ring on low-flow fire hydrants in your neighborhood. Low-flow hydrants are defined as those that deliver less than 500 gallons of water per minute.
The red ring provides a distinct and very visible way for Seattle Fire Department personnel to quickly and easily identify low-flow hydrants in cases of emergency.
Low-flow hydrants are fully operational, but output less water per minute than other hydrants.
A house fire on 28th SW a few blocks south of Roxbury, next to Explorer West Middle School (WSB sponsor). is under investigation this morning. The house is just north of the campus, separated by a driveway and embankment, so there was no damage at the school. The fire started after 11 pm; the incident commander from North Highline Fire District told us nobody was home at the time, and nobody was hurt. A county fire investigator arrived on the scene while we were there and started working to find out how the fire started.
The design for the new Fire Station 32 in The Triangle will be shown off at an open house June 1st. First word of the event has just arrived in the mailboxes of neighbors including Sharonn Meeks of the Fairmount Community Association, who shared a copy of the invitation. The station at 37th and Alaska is almost half a century old, and its replacement will be headquarters to SFD’s Battalion 7 – a larger role than the station has now, though it’s already home to the only West Seattle-based medic unit, Medic 32. Though the city has applied for permits, construction of the $15 million project is still a ways off, with demolition likely late next year, as we reported in a project update two months ago. You can find out more firsthand at the June 1st event, 1-3 pm, promising tours as well as a chance to see the design planned for the new station, which will be built on the current site, with station operations located to a TBD temporary site during construction.
(Photos by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
2:15 AM: A big Seattle Fire callout is en route to the 9000 block of 35th SW (map). The callout is “fire in a building.” The reported address checks to the Barton Court apartment building.
2:25 AM: Via radio: Crews say the fire is in a first-floor unit, and they have it “knocked down” – crews are checking the other floors and haven’t found evidence of spreading, though they’re reporting smoke on the second floor. No word of any injuries, so far.
2:36 AM: From the scene, co-publisher Patrick Sand reports that the tenants evacuated safely and were gathering across 35th outside Southwest Library (photo above) – at least 20 tenants, and several pets. (Here’s one – Taco the cat:)
Firefighters are calling for a Metro bus to give them a place to gather. The smoke in the area is thick, he says. The massive response has 35th SW basically blocked off between Henderson and (to the south) Barton. Compounding matters for all involved: Pounding rain.
3:03 AM: Patrick reports that the fire seems to be out and the concern now is for the evacuees, who as you might expect had to rush out of their apartments not particularly dressed for the outdoors, much less pouring rain. Still awaiting the aforementioned bus. No word if any of them will be able to get back into their apartments tonight – we hope to hear that from the SFD public-information officer that’s been summoned to the scene.
3:31 AM: Update from the scene: A librarian showed up and let the evacuees into Southwest Library to take refuge from the chilly rain. Meantime, some of the SFD units are clearing out and heading back to their stations.
3:51 AM: The incident commander tells us 32 people in all had to leave their apartments – no telling how soon they’ll be allowed back inside, though the damage was reported as largely confined to one first-floor unit and the hall outside it.
(And the Metro bus for the evacuees finally arrived.) 35th is still closed between Henderson and Barton.
4:30 AM: Above, that’s our video of the incident commander’s briefing. Also added a few more photos.
4:43 AM: In comments, a tenant says some of the residents have been allowed back inside.
10:33 AM UPDATE: Seattle Fire spokesperson Kyle Moore says “an electrical malfunction in the kitchen range which ignited combustible materials in the kitchen” is to blame for the fire, adding: “Investigators say the kitchen fire extended to the living room of the bottom level unit. The fire is being ruled accidental. … The apartment resident says a smoke detector alerted her to the fire which allowed her to safely escape. The Red Cross was called to assist the one resident with temporary shelter. The damage estimate is $47,000.”
(WSB photos added 11:16 am: Sign posted on P-Patch shed)
Seattle Police are investigating a shed fire at Longfellow Creek P-Patch in Westwood this morning after it was determined to be arson. From Seattle Fire Department spokesperson Kyle Moore:
Fire Investigators have determined a shed fire located at a West Seattle P-Patch is an incendiary fire.
At 6:50 a.m., a delivery driver called 911 to report a shed fire located in the park in the 2400 block of SW Thistle Street. Engine 11 arrived to find a smoldering pile of combustibles in a wheelbarrow bucket.
The fire was quickly extinguished. There was also minor scorching to the shed.
The damage estimate is $500. The Seattle Police Department’s Arson Bomb Squad was notified of the fire and will investigate.
Anyone with information that can help solve this case is asked to call the Arson Hotline at 800-55-ARSON.
The garden area where this fire happened is alongside Longfellow Creek, just east of Chief Sealth International High School. According to the P-Patch’s city website, it has more than two dozen garden plots.
(Photo by David Ryder)
If you saw the smoke last night in the Admiral area – it was from that car fire in the West Seattle High School parking lot, caught on camera by photographer David Ryder. Because of conflicting incidents/events last night, we didn’t get there until the fire was already out and firefighters had departed, but followed up after getting questions today.
(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
Seattle Fire Department spokesperson Kyle Moore says it was a one-engine callout, but since there was nothing extraordinary about it, he has no information on its cause and says the fire crew that handled it is off-duty today, so he can’t check with them, but he notes that the fire marshal wasn’t called out – which would have been the case if there had been anything suspicious – and no medic unit was called, meaning no serious injuries, if any.
ADDED THURSDAY MORNING: Moore has since been able to reach the crew, and says: “The driver of the car said smoke started in the steering column when she tried to start the car. The most likely cause of the fire was an electrical fire inside the steering column.” He also confirms that no one was hurt.
If you’re wondering about a large Seattle Fire Department call-out in the 6300 block of High Point Drive SW, all units are being dismissed from what has now been reported via the scanner as “Food on the Stove.”
(Photo by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
(10:18 pm) We’re checking out the fire response in the 5900 block of SW Stevens, about half a block west – reduced from what was originally a “full response.” (added 10:25 pm) A neighbor says there was “a lot of smoke” initially but whatever it was, it appears to be out now, and units are clearing the scene. (added 10:31 pm) Christopher Boffoli reports it was “food on the stove.”
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