West Seattle, Washington
9:55 AM: SFD has a big callout at a building in the 6900 block of California SW. More to come.
10:01 AM UPDATE: The call has already closed, and the last truck was leaving the area as we arrived. The address had changed on the log, to a row of new townhomes.
Thanks to those who’ve sent photos of this morning’s car fire at 30th and Graham in High Point; these two are from Joe Moorman. Seattle Fire spokesperson Lt. Sue Stangl says their fire investigator was not called out, but police impounded the car.
So we checked with SPD spokesperson Officer Lauren Lovanhill, who says the car was not stolen – it was registered to a West Seattle address – but it was illegally parked, and that’s apparently why it was impounded. The report’s not in the system yet, so there’s no official information on the cause. No one was hurt in the fire, which was reported around 5:20 am.
(WSB photo from Saturday)
The 18-year-old arrested in connection with last Saturday’s house fire on 31st Place SW is now charged with second-degree arson. Ezekiel M. Hoskins was arrested blocks away from the scene of the fire, less than two hours later. Charging documents include the same details we reported the day of his bail hearing, that his girlfriend said they had argued earlier in the day and that he had threatened to set the house on fire. Police say he told them he was smoking in the house that afternoon and that his discarded cigarettes might have ignited the fire, but he denied deliberately setting it; court documents say he was seen walking away from the house before an explosion that preceded the fire. While his girlfriend was quoted as telling investigators that Hoskins lived in the house, which had belonged to a relative, charging papers say he told police he had been living elsewhere with his aunt, but that they were unable to verify it. Also, while we couldn’t find a criminal record for him in previous checks, the court documents say that as a juvenile, Hoskins had two robbery convictions in the past two years. Before SFD cleared Saturday’s fire scene, a firefighter suffered a hand injury and had to be taken to the hospital. Damage to the house and its contents is estimated at $105,000; Hoskins remains in the King County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.
(Police and fire investigators at scene on Saturday)
An 18-year-old man is in jail, suspected of setting the fire that damaged a house in the 9200 block of 31st Place SW on Saturday afternoon. SFD confirmed on Monday that the fire had been ruled arson, but we weren’t able to confirm until this morning that a suspect is in custody. Court documents say he is the boyfriend of the 18-year-old woman who was found outside the house, “screaming and crying,” as it burned. She is reported to have told investigators the suspect lived inside the house, and that when they had argued earlier in the day, he had threatened to set it on fire. She also said the house, described by SFD and in an online complaint as “vacant,” had belonged to a relative of her boyfriend and that he had been staying there because he was otherwise homeless. A neighbor told police he had seen the man walking away from the house just before an “explosion” that preceded the fire. The suspect was found “on a pathway near the Roxhill Park entrance,” according to the probable-cause document, and recognized by officers “from prior contacts” (he does not, however, appear to have a criminal record, either felony or misdemeanor). He was booked into King County Jail on Saturday night; on Monday afternoon, a judge set his bail at $25,000. Prosecutors have until tomorrow to file charges.
(Photo courtesy Robert Ferguson)
6:24 PM:Seattle Fire is responding to a reported house fire in the 5200 block of 45th SW.
6:37 PM: SFD says this is an attic fire and that everyone got out of the house OK, no injuries reported so far.
MONDAY MORNING: SFD finally ended “fire watch” at the house, 12 hours after the fire broke out – the online 911 log showed units at the scene, rotating every few hours as is done if there’s concern about flareups, until early this morning. We’ll be checking on investigators’ official ruling of the cause. Meantime, see the comment section for a discussion of this house’s unusual history.
MONDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Lt. Sue Stangl with SFD says this fire has been ruled an accident – sparked by work on the house’s roof. Damage to the house is estimated at $50,000, and $20,000 to its contents.
(Added: Photo courtesy Conrad)
2:51 PM: Seattle Fire has a “full response” headed to a possible house fire in the 9200 block of 31st Place SW, which is in Westwood (map). More to come.
(Smoke was visible for blocks – photo courtesy Sebastian, looking SW over Westwood Village)
2:55 PM UPDATE: It’s a confirmed fire and SFD units have water on it.
(WSB photos from here down)
3 PM UPDATE: Now reported to be under control. One possible injury.
3:07 PM UPDATE: Via Twitter, SFD describes the house as “vacant.” That’s borne out by this DPD record for the address that SFD has logged for the fire – a complaint made and investigated less than a month ago.
3:20 PM UPDATE: Nobody hurt, we’ve confirmed with SFD. Fire investigators are en route to look into the cause. The fire is mostly out except for some smoldering in the walls. Neighbors tell us it’s been a problem house for a year or so.
3:35 PM UPDATE: Update – we’ve since been told a firefighter suffered a hand injury and has been taken to the hospital.
5:58 PM UPDATE: As mentioned in comments, fire and police investigators have been there; we went back over for photos.
Still no official word on the cause, but the police presence confirms they are investigating the possibility of arson.
MONDAY UPDATE: Lt. Sue Stangl from SFD says investigators determined that this fire was “set,” and so Seattle Police are investigating. Damage to the house is estimated at $100,000, and $5,000 to its contents.
9:41 AM: They have “water on the fire” and are searching to make sure no one’s in the house. It’s not a huge fire, though, as indicated by the call to dismiss all but four units.
9:45 AM: The fire’s now declared “tapped.”
9:50 AM: Our crew has talked to SFD at the scene. The fire was on the second floor and is believed to have been electrical in origin; everyone who was home got out OK, no injuries. Very smoky; they’re still trying to determine if the residents will be able to get back into the house safely any time soon.
4:21 PM: A big Seattle Fire response is on the way to a possible house fire in the 10200 block of 41st SW (map). More to come.
4:26 PM: First unit on scene said it appears to be a small fire on the deck.
4:46 PM: We confirmed that on scene. So small, firefighters were able to extinguish it quickly. No injuries, little damage, SFD left right after we got there.
(August 28th photo, courtesy Megan)
From the “in case you were wondering too” file: Three and a half weeks after the fire that destroyed mail and led to removal of the mailbox outside the Westwood post office, we asked USPS spokesperson Ernie Swanson if it would be back any time soon. His response: “There is no spare mail collection box of this type available. So we are repairing the old one. The process is underway and we hope to have it ‘back in place’ in the not too distant future. I can’t give you a date for that just yet.” We’re still checking on the fire investigation, but we’ve been asked several times recently about the box’s status, so here’s that followup in the meantime. If you need an outdoor dropbox, the Junction post office (California between Genesee and Oregon) still has one.
(Photo courtesy of Rachael)
10:26 AM: Seattle Fire has sent a full “fire in building” response to 5630 California SW. First crews on scene are not seeing anything. Avoid the area – traffic is blocked right now.
10:29 AM UPDATE: One crew has just found the source of the smoke – apparently a lamp. Most of the crews are being dismissed. Northbound California remains blocked, south of SW Findlay – this is on the east side of the street.
3:27 PM: Seattle Fire is sending a full-size response to the 8600 block of 9th SW in Highland Park for a possible house fire. More to come.
3:32 PM: The first units on scene say it appears to be just a fireplace problem, so the response is being scaled back. Our crew, on arrival, has confirmed: Fire in fireplace, flue not opened, smoke got out of control, no problem otherwise.
(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
3:09 AM: Seattle Fire crews are arriving at a small house fire near 23rd SW and SW Willow – the caller didn’t have a precise address so it’s taken them a while to find it. Some of the units are already being turned back. More to come.
3:21 AM: Our crew has arrived and says this happened at a vacant house (confirmed by city complaint records) in the 6700 block of 23rd SW and was so small that SFD didn’t even need to roll out hoses to get water on the fire, but instead used extinguishers to put it out and are now ventilating the house. No injuries reported. The cause is under investigation.
1:40 AM: Major Seattle Fire response is heading out to 17th and Roxbury for a report of a detached-garage fire. First unit on the scene reports heavy smoke.
1:45 AM: The call has been downgraded to a lower-level response and the fire is under control. No injuries reported.
1:49 AM: Roxbury is closed in both directions at the fire scene – though they’re going to try to open an eastbound lane so Metro can get through. Meantime, SFD’s investigator is being called to find out how this started.
2:58 AM: SFD units are wrapping up, and SPD says Roxbury will be fully reopen again in a few minutes.
ADDED: SFD tweeted that this fire was deliberately set, and SPD is investigating.
5:03 PM: Seattle Fire crews are at the scene of what’s described as a “garage fire” in the 2700 block of 38th SW (map). SFD says it’s a detached garage, and that the fire’s under control. More to come.
5:26 PM UPDATE: Our crew says the fire’s out and most of the firefighters are leaving. It was in the back of a detached garage; no vehicle was in the garage at the time, we’re told, and no one was hurt. The cause is under investigation.
ADDED SATURDAY: SFD says this fire was accidental, caused by smoking materials.
5:11 PM: If you use the Westwood Post Office drive-up box, take note. From regional U.S. Postal Service spokesperson Ernie Swanson:
Mail deposited in a drive-up collection box outside the Westwood Post Office, 2721 SW Trenton St., Seattle WA 98126, was destroyed in a fire at about 4:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 28.
Mail deposited in the box after about 5:30 p.m., Thursday, August 27th, was burned beyond recognition.
An investigation is being conducted into the possible cause of the fire. The Seattle Fire Department extinguished the fire.
We’re checking on the mailbox’s status.
ADDED 5:23 PM: Before we could even do that – we received the photo we’ve added above, from Megan (thank you!). Note the sign says you can’t use the burned mailbox – asking customers to take their mail inside. We’ll be checking on replacement plans, as well as the aforementioned investigation.
P.S. This is the same drive-up-mailbox location that was briefly out of service five and a half months ago after the box was hit by a car.
6:40 PM: Just went to Westwood for a firsthand look, and the burned mailbox has been removed.
8:04 PM: We’ve also heard back from USPS’s Swanson, who says the box *will* be replaced, no timetable yet.
11:15 PM: Here in West Seattle and in other parts of the city, people are mentioning a strong smell of smoke in the air – in a few places they’ve even called 911 and Seattle Fire’s gone around checking, but no fires so far – theory right now is that the wind kicking up has brought wildfire smoke back this way. Just thought we’d mention it, with so many asking.
11:28 PM: Several people have pointed out that a new fire is burning in Mason County, to the southwest, and that matches more with the wind direction than the Eastern Washington fires.
Pictures of the Skokomish Valley brush fire. pic.twitter.com/O6SMZhX9al
— PIO (@CMFEpio) August 28, 2015
11:42 PM: Last report on that fire in the Skokomish Valley was about 50 acres, per KING 5. Rain is expected by morning, which should help with the firefight as well as the smoke smell here.
5:11 PM: Thanks to Charlie G. for photos from another brush fire this afternoon – one that broke out just as the Arroyos response was starting to wind down. This one was reported around 2:45 pm on the northwest side of >Madison Middle School, at 46th and Hinds.
Scanner traffic indicated that firefighters were getting a quick handle on it, so we didn’t break away to go to this scene, but Charlie’s photos show it’s likely to have left behind enough charred grass to raise questions for passersby. We’re checking with SFD to see if they determined a cause – firefighters called for Marshal 5 (the investigative unit) fairly quickly, but had to wait until after the investigator was done at the Arroyos fire scene.
7:29 PM: We’ve just confirmed with Seattle Fire spokesperson Kyle Moore that the fire was sparked by somebody setting off a bottle rocket – not only illegal, but more dangerous than ever in these tinder-dry conditions, and this is another reminder.. Moore says the fire burned about 200 square feet near the Madison field.
(SCROLL DOWN for newest update – fire determined to have been accidental)
(Photo from Steph)
1:32 PM UPDATE: Firefighters on the scene are calling for more engines.
(Photo from Alison)
1:44 PM UPDATE: SFD confirms it’s a brush fire at this point but that three homes are threatened and they’re working hard to keep the flames from getting to those houses. Our crew is almost there.
1:50 PM UPDATE: We’ve just arrived at the scene. The fire has just been reported to be under control.
1:57 PM UPDATE: The fire is estimated at up to 2 acres. Now just hotspots, according to SFD. Avoid Marine View Drive in this area – fire vehicles are concentrated at 39th/109th, which is where MV Drive takes a turn. Adding photos, ours and those tweeted/sent to us (thank you!).
(Photo by Hal Tangen)
2:07 PM UPDATE: We’ve confirmed the fire did not reach any of the homes. No word of any injuries, nor of how the fire started, but SFD’s public-information officer is reported to be en route, so we’ll get an update soon, in addition to what we’re finding out from firefighters/incident commander.
2:15 PM UPDATE: The fire’s now been declared “tapped,” still with some hotspots.
2:36 PM UPDATE: We’ve just talked with SFD public-information officer Kyle Moore. He says the fire got within 75 yards of at least one house before it was stopped. The cause remains under investigation, and crews will be in the area working on hotspots for quite a while, so stay away from the south end of Marine View Drive.
3:05 PM UPDATE: If you’re seeing/hearing a helicopter – Guardian One is helping SFD locate remaining hotspots.
4:15 PM: SFD says the cause “is accidental – improperly disposed-of staining rags in direct sunlight” – someone was staining furniture and left the rags out in the open – this isn’t the first fire we’ve covered where that kind of combustion happened. Spokesperson Moore also reaffirms that no one was hurt, and that while they had Seattle Public Utilities standing by in case they needed a water boost, it wasn’t necessary – the system worked exactly as it was needed to.
Especially if you’re in east West Seattle, you might be wondering about a big Seattle Fire response on Harbor Island. It went out as a full major “fire in a building” response but has since been scaled back. Scanner traffic indicates it’s a generator fire at or near Vigor Shipyards. No injuries reported so far.
(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
10:20 PM: All those sirens are from a big Seattle Fire response headed to a possible house fire in the 10200 block of 32nd SW in Arbor Heights [map]. Updates to come.
10:23 PM: Crews are starting to arrive. Early word is that the fire started in the living room, and that everyone got out of the house OK.
10:28 PM: Per scanner, they’re scaling back the response. The fire has been declared “tapped.”
10:43 PM: Our crew has talked with the incident commander, who says it was a “small electrical fire” that’s now out; nobody hurt, and the residents will be able to go back inside shortly.
3:29 PM: Our crew is there. This was a backyard brush/grass fire, which did not spread to the house; nobody hurt. Response is down to one engine. Firefighters are still trying to find out what sparked it – the people who live at the house aren’t home; neighbors noticed it and called it in.