day : 25/05/2009 6 results

West Seattle Crime Watch: 2 incidents reported tonight

FIRST REPORT, 10:28 PM: Just got a note about a hit-run driver damaging cars near Charlestown Cafe. Stacy reports, “Many in the street trying to figure out what happened. Glass all over the road on California.” Listening to the scanner, police are now checking on a report elsewhere in West Seattle of a driver getting out of a car and discussing having been in a crash. More info as/if we get it. (added later – here’s an account from Ranette, one of the hit-run victims):

I was driving the first car hit by this driver. Driving south on California, I had been at the PCC with my friend. I heard the tires screeching behind us and then felt the hard impact (back of my car). I tried to keep from hitting the cars parked on California Avenue. I think I glimpsed a dark car. I pulled over and we got out. There were a lot of people outside who had heard the accident. A few had seen it and described a dark or black hatchback hitting my car then trying to regain control to take a quick left off of California onto Bradford??? (street north of Andover). Apparently, the driver did not have much control and knocked down a stop sign which hit two parked and unoccupied cars (but I did not see this only informed by witnesses and police officer). The driver kept going. The police officer said they had just heard of a car with the same description driving on three wheels. What a horrible feeling to be in an accident like this. It felt like the car came out of nowhere and hit us so hard. It is especially disturbing that the other driver left the accident location. My friend and I were wearing our seatbelts, as usual, and we are so glad we were. The rear of my car is pretty damaged but not so bad that I could not drive home.

SECOND REPORT, ADDED 11:34 PM: Received a note from a Harbor Ave resident troubled by what she saw tonight and wondering if there are any Block Watch groups in her area. We referred her to Southwest Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator Benjamin Kinlow but also are sharing her story as it relates to some of what was discussed at the Alki Community Council meeting last Thursday – read on (1:52 am note, we’re also adding info just received from police on BOTH these incidents):Read More

West Seattle and Seattle Lutheran softball teams in state tourney

May 25, 2009 7:33 pm
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools | WS & Sports

baseballclipart.jpgThanks to Benita for the tip that in turn led us to the news that West Seattle has two softball teams in state tournament play – West Seattle High School and Seattle Lutheran High School. WSHS is in the 3A tournament, starting play Friday vs. Columbia River at SERA Fields in Tacoma (brackets here); SLHS is in the 2B tournament, starting play at 9 am Friday vs. La Salle at Gateway Sports Complex in Yakima. Both teams are mentioned in this story posted today on the West Seattle Thunder Fastpitch organization site, noting that 22 current and former WS Thunder players are in state play, representing schools including WSHS and SLHS. Good luck to all – we’ll post updates!

West Seattle Memorial Day 2009: Forest Lawn commemoration

With the retiring of the colors, this year’s West Seattle Memorial Day commemoration at Dignity Memorial/Forest Lawn concluded a few hours ago. Veterans young and old were among those at the event – from a man in a “KOREA VET” cap, heard discussing the North Korea missile test, to Iraq War veterans like City Council candidate and former Highland Park Action Committee chair Dorsol Plants (who served for five years, until 2007). Another younger veteran on hand was Christopher Shea, commander of American Legion Post 160, which presents this ceremony each year; he recounted the reason for the holiday:

Today’s special guest speaker was Vietnam War veteran Margarita Suarez, who recalled her harrowing work as a nurse, sharing memories with a message that had some in tears:

The simple spirit of patriotism imbued the service, including singalongs led by guest vocalist Tom Carlisle:

And Scouts from Troop 284 performed wreath duty (listen for the crows):

Other participants in the ceremony included Pastor Tom Isenhart and musician Jim Edwards, who played “Taps.” This is the 82nd time the Post has presented this service — one of the longest-running Memorial Day events in the Seattle area.

Update: Arbor Heights house, cars burn; 1 man badly burned

(Above photo by Tony Bradley, added 12:51 pm)

(photo by neighbor Nathan, added 12:36 pm)
ORIGINAL 12:13 PM REPORT: Thanks for the calls, texts, e-mails, etc. – on our way to a house fire in Arbor Heights, 35th/108th (map). More momentarily. Several reports describe it as “big.” 12:19 PM UPDATE: From Seattle Fire spokesperson Dana Vander Houwen: When firefighters arrived, they found a fully involved 2 story single family residence and two cars on fire. Nearby homes were threatened so they went into defensive mode, protecting them. A 34-year-old man — found outside the house — has “life-threatening injuries” from burns, but she says everyone else got out OK. And she says the fire is under control. 12:24 PM UPDATE: Co-publisher Patrick has just talked with Vander Houwen at the scene and she says people are being kept far back (traffic is closed for blocks around) because there IS (as posted in comments) “a SUSPICION of a meth lab being involved.” This is as close as we’ve been allowed to get:

12:39 PM UPDATE: In comments, Cliff writes:

We live across the street we left as soon as we could. I heard people yelling and went out my front door to see the house behind our neighbor’s house fully engulfed in flames. And I could hear small explosions taking place. We took our valuables and pets and left immediately. For years our neighbors have suspected drug activity in the house. I would not be anywhere near the fumes.

Another neighbor, Nathan, has sent photos via Twitter and we have added one at the top of this report. More than half a dozen police cars are at the scene as well as the sizable Fire Department presence. As of about 12:40 pm, the SPD Arson and Bomb Squad also has arrived. 12:54 PM UPDATE: Tony Bradley has sent photos – closest ones we have seen yet – we have added one at the top of this report and here are a few more:

Investigators have not been able to get into the house as hot spots remain but the Arson/Bomb Squad specialists are likely to try shortly, according to what we are being told on the scene.

1:12 PM UPDATE: Just in case you have seen “shots fired” reports anywhere: We asked, and there is NO indication any gunshots were involved here, according to what authorities are telling us at the scene. That early report of “sounds like gunshots” is believed to have been from potential small explosions neighbors heard while the flames were raging. Police spokesperson Mark Jamieson tells WSB the first call to police was from a neighbor who thought he heard a shot — minutes before smoke from the fire started pouring skyward — but it’s now believed that was likely a popping sound related to the fire. He also says he has no information at this point on any possible past drug activity at the house and at this point, “this is a fire call, with SPD assisting.” If investigators find evidence of a crime, of course, that status may change, and we will continue to monitor. We are also still at the scene, where the media’s been allowed to get a somewhat closer look at the fire aftermath.

1:40 PM UPDATE: Here’s one of those photos we just got – first of the house and cars, post-flames:

No official word yet on the condition of the burned man but he was said to be in pretty bad shape as he was rushed to Harborview Medical Center.

3:11 PM UPDATE: No official updates from fire/police recently but we’re going back to the scene to see if there’s anything new to learn there. Meantime, here are a couple clips from earlier in the afternoon – first, SFD spokesperson Dana Vander Houwen giving the toplines as they were known at the time:

Second, an even closer view from the same vantage point of the photo we added at 1:40 pm (above):

3:42 PM UPDATE: Roads in the area have just been reopened. Not much fire/police presence left at the scene. Adding another aftermath photo:

6:03 PM UPDATE: Latest from the Fire Department: The cause remains “undetermined,” and spokesperson Vander Houwen says she’s unlikely to have final word on the cause tonight – she says investigators still need to do “additional interviews” as they try to sort out what happened. The damage estimate at this point is $250,000.

10:01 PM UPDATE: This evening’s police update is basically “we’re still working with the Fire Department, but it remains primarily their investigation, and there’s nothing new to say” (our paraphrase). Our next update most likely won’t be before tomorrow morning, at which time we’ll start a new followup story. But in the meantime, we are reposting this comment that has just come in from “Neighbor”:

I’m not sure what all was written above but I’ll tell you my story and I was the first one to get to the burn victim.

I was doing yard work when I heard someone yelling help me, help me. I live on the next street over and ran to help him. I was the first person to get to him and he was sitting on the door steps of the house directly next door screaming for help. As I approached him he got up and started walking towards me and I along with another neighbor were trying to get him to sit down. He had terrible burns on his chest, hands, arms, some on his head, and really it was so crazy I was not trying to see where else. His skin was peeling off, really terrible terrible. He sat for a moment in the road from 108th to his house but then got up again and continued to the main street. Again we were trying to get him to sit but he was yelling help me (there was nothing at all we could do at that point we were waiting for help to come). He then started yelling to give him a car…..aparently he thought he would drive himself to a hospital. A man in a van stopped in the road and he got out to see if he could help. The burn victim then made a dash to the car (which I believe and someone else also agreed that there were kids in the back of that car) which was still running in the middle of the street to steal it so he could drive to a hospital. The owner of the car had to forcefully get the victim away from his car which was really sad to see because as we all knew the victim was in total shock. He then made his way up the street and finally sat at the corner of 36th and 108th street until the first fire truck showed up and then he walked down to it where they started treating him.

The stuff about the meth lab. NO, the house was not a meth lab, police and firemen I spoke with have all said there was nothing at all that indicated it was. The reason that got out is because there had been major concern that it might be by neighbors and police who were very familiar with the victim. In fact a police officer asked him very directly if there was a meth lab before sending in firemen!

There were many many explosions and so far all thoughts about what those were are speculation. There have been people who said that they saw spray paint cans exploding and there were two cars with gas cans that probably exploded. More explosions sounded like either firecrackers or maybe bullets but who knows for sure!

I spoke just an hour ago with fire units still at the house and from talking to them and seeing the damage it looks like it started at the car he was probably working on in his carport. The car lid was open and the damage was clear that it started there.

There was damage to the house directly next door but not really too much. Some homes have smoke issues but they all seem to be minor.

We heard that the mother was not in town and had just recently paid off the house and they were doing remodels on it like a new deck last week and new windows.

Also talking to one of the first responders they said that he had about 70% burns on his body (yes I can say it looked like that), and that due to the chest burn, the amount of burned body, and the possibility that he inhaled when he was on fire or burning he has a very serious uphill battle for his life. Those are not my words those are the words of a first responder who worked on him.

I am absolutely horrified by what I saw today and for what that man is going through. There has been lots of speculation about him being a guy who was not the best of neighbors but everyone I’ve talked to is nothing but concerned for his well being and feel horrible about it. I can tell you that everyone in the neighborhood is pulling for him and he and his family are in our prayers!

I don’t know if that clears anything up, but I’ve never been this close to a story like this and I thought I’d tell it the way I saw it and I saw the whole thing from the beginning.

More tomorrow, including, we hope, an update on the burn victim.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Van vandalized

Crime takes no holiday … Michael shares news of what happened to his family’s van this weekend:

Our mini van was vandalized sometime Saturday Night/Sunday Morning 5/23-5/24. Someone smashed one of the door windows. Nothing was stolen and there is nothing of apparent value in it other than baby gear. Second time in a couple months our van has been targeted. Location 34th Ave SW between Andover and Charlestown [map].

West Seattle Memorial Day 2009

May 25, 2009 6:30 am
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 |   Holidays | West Seattle news

WHAT’S DIFFERENT: No school, no mail, no government offices (with a few exceptions), no banks, Metro on a Sunday schedule, King County Water Taxi on a Saturday schedule (as are the shuttle buses that feed it), community centers and libraries closed

WHAT’S THE SAME: Trash/recycling/yard waste pickup, Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth ferry on regular schedule, West Seattle liquor store open, Colman Pool open, Southwest Pool open

WEST SEATTLE MEMORIAL DAY SERVICE: 2 pm, Forest Lawn (details here)

COFFEE, ANYONE? We don’t usually compile a complete list for this holiday – Thanksgiving and Christmas are a different story! – but we can tell you that our coffee-shop sponsors, Hotwire Coffee and Coffee at the Heights, are both open today: Hotwire is open 7 am-6 pm (and is now offering smoothies, too!), C-a-t-H is open 6:30 am-3 pm.