Update: Fire in 4200 block of Beach Drive ruled “accidental”

(cameraphone photo added 6:16 am)
ORIGINAL 5:55 AM REPORT: Big response to a house fire in the 4200 block of Beach Drive [map]. More shortly. 6:15 AM: Beach Drive is blocked off from La Rustica to Me Kwa Mooks because of the callout, which is – as noted in comments – at an under-construction home on the water side of Beach. 6:21 AM: The fire’s tapped. Fire Department spokesperson Helen Fitzpatrick is there and confirms that nobody was inside at the time and that no one’s been hurt – the fire appears to have originated on the second floor; they’re trying to reach the building’s owner. 6:26 AM: Note that the Beach Drive closure is affecting the 37 bus – via Twitter, @crm4444 advises that it’s being rerouted up Jacobsen and, “Looks like 37 riders north of Jacobsen need to catch at 63rd/Admiral till fire action clears.” 6:59 AM: Adding video of ladder crew working once the flames were out. When our camera pans back to the truck, you can see why the entire road is closed at that spot:

No word yet on the cause. 7:06 AM: SFD spokesperson Fitzpatrick now says one firefighter suffered an arm injury and had to go to the hospital. 7:18 AM: Heading back to the scene for an update. Beach Drive is still closed at Weather Watch Park on the north side. 8 AM: Still closed both ways; incident commander at the scene tells us northbound Beach Dr should reopen within an hour, southbound (the side the burned house is on) will be a bit longer. No word on the cause yet; investigators are in the house now:

In the daylight, it’s clear that the new construction where the fire happened is actually a two-story add-on in front of the old house.

10:30 AM UPDATE: Investigators say this was an accidental fire – damage estimated at $250,000. SFD says they haven’t zeroed in on exactly what sparked it, but it’s clear it was not deliberately set, so that’s the ruling.

32 Replies to "Update: Fire in 4200 block of Beach Drive ruled "accidental""

  • Big Gary November 25, 2009 (5:57 am)

    Damn noisy helos!

  • Laura November 25, 2009 (5:59 am)

    Heard the sirens this morning and there seems to be a helicopter overhead. Is this a single home or one of the condos?

  • WSB November 25, 2009 (6:00 am)

    The call is “single family residence,” crossref’ing the address while co-publisher heads that way … address on 911 log (4222 Beach) checks to a condo, though.

  • Big Gary November 25, 2009 (6:03 am)

    Empty house being remodeled, on water side of Beach Dr.

  • slh November 25, 2009 (6:25 am)

    I’m guessing this is why my bus (the first #37 of the day) never showed at Alki & 61st this morning.

  • WSB November 25, 2009 (6:26 am)

    I just got bus info via Twitter and am adding to the story – this indeed would block off the 37 – TR

  • noreaster November 25, 2009 (6:27 am)

    I don’t think that helo is for the fire… Seems to be circling alki and the sound just off of 53rd

  • Nancy Drew November 25, 2009 (6:33 am)

    That’s not a remodel; that’s a big new home that’s being built where they knocked down a little beach cottage. Its construction had been going in fits and starts, which made me wonder if the owner was having cashflow issues.

  • Meg November 25, 2009 (6:34 am)

    Kudos to the fire department! We ate across the street and they got the fire out quickly. Very thankful noone was living there at the time.

  • WSB November 25, 2009 (6:35 am)

    Patrick is on scene and confirms it’s new construction. The address on the 911 log is totally wrong (it STILL says “4222” which is inland side of street condo) so I haven’t been able to completely crossreference. I think I know which parcel that is now, though, from drivebys.

  • Dan'a November 25, 2009 (6:47 am)

    The chopper is still right over our house, and we live quite near the fire location. I wonder why they are still hovering since the fire is out?
    Makes me very nervous, with all this fog.

  • Meg November 25, 2009 (6:51 am)

    Three houses north of park next to elvis house.

  • WSB November 25, 2009 (6:52 am)

    Dan’a – FWIW that would be a TV news chopper – there are no firefighting choppers except for the ones that carry buckets of water to forest fires etc. – the tv news choppers happen to be up at this hour for traffic reports so if some breaking news story happens anywhere, they rush that way.

  • Dan\'a November 25, 2009 (6:56 am)

    Ah, thank you! They seem to have gone now. I am relieved the house was empty and hope no fire fighters were hurt. I can smell the smoke pretty strongly at the moment.

  • Dan\\\'a November 25, 2009 (6:57 am)

    So glad it wasn’t the Elvis house. That little sign always makes me smile when I was by it.

  • TCB November 25, 2009 (7:38 am)

    What’s the ‘Elvis house’?

  • WSB November 25, 2009 (8:10 am)

    is one telling of the story that I just pulled out of Google.

  • Brian November 25, 2009 (8:15 am)

    I love all the snide remarks about the helicopters.


    Go live in Key Center if you want absolute quiet.

    bunch of babies.

  • rnl November 25, 2009 (8:16 am)

    This fire smells fishy, not smoky –

  • glendafrench November 25, 2009 (8:45 am)

    Brian, I’m usually with you when people complain about traffic noise, etc. (my personal favorite is people who move to Belltown and complain about the noise of the clubs) but I’m sorry – choppers are an unusual noise around here and it sounds like they were just there because it was a “slow news day”. 6:00 AM is a little early – that’s what woke me up this morning and I live all the way by the Junction.

  • angelescrest November 25, 2009 (8:50 am)

    They were loud, constant and murky in the fog. Was there no danger for them in that half-an hour (at least) of circling?

  • WSB November 25, 2009 (8:54 am)

    Separate from the issue of whether it warranted choppers or not — I can tell you that the pilots do have a really strong safety record around here and have a system set up where they plot who is circling where, when they all get to a scene. My last TV station (13) did not have a chopper but I worked for 8 years at one that did (4) and it was always impressive to hear about and see how hard they work on safety. I’m also thinking they may have used the chopper for repeated updates during the morning newscast – whomever was there covering it on the ground, there were no live trucks left by the time we returned to the scene to check on things around 7:45.

  • wseye November 25, 2009 (9:12 am)

    Love that Elvis story. I used to think WS was a happy and sleepy place where nothing ever happened – that was before WSB blew our cover. But we are still happy.

  • flowerpetal November 25, 2009 (9:39 am)

    Flames equal viewers which equals money. There is little more attractive to simple minded newspaper readers and t.v. watchers than flames. It draws people in every time; and advertisers love that!

  • Mike November 25, 2009 (9:53 am)

    The chopper noise was excessive today. I think the fog might have something to do with noise travel and level. I live far far away from where the chopper was at, could see it hovering though. I could hear it inside my house. When it would turn one way the sound would drop, turns the other way and it was louder than my car idling 2 feet from me.

  • Rhonda Porter November 25, 2009 (10:29 am)

    I thought I saw someone in the home yesterday (or the day before) when I was driving home from the grocery store… too bad… they’re getting so close to having the construction finished–at least the home wasn’t occupied.

    I can’t imagine living next door with fire going with how close many of the homes are along Beach Drive.

  • miws November 25, 2009 (10:33 am)

    Around 5:45-ish, while the KOMO chopper was covering the fire, they mentioned on their newscast that they had a reporter already in the field, (Melody Mendez, IIRC) and they were pulling her from whatever she was already covering/on her way to, to cover the fire.


    After getting my KOMO Rewards 25 point word just before 6:00, :) and e-mailing WSB about the fire, I went back to bed for an hour, so didn’t see any more of KOMO’s coverage, to see when Melody arrived..



  • WSB November 25, 2009 (10:36 am)

    For anyone who hasn’t checked the main text, SFD just announced it was accidental, damage estimated at $250K.

  • sillygoose November 25, 2009 (12:28 pm)

    These are friends of mine and it is so so sad to see their home that they have worked so hard on go up in smoke, while they are on holiday.

  • TK November 25, 2009 (2:49 pm)

    Beautiful home! My family suffered a house fire three days before Christmas last year it was so devastating. I hope you guys the best of luck.

  • Jill Loblaw November 26, 2009 (8:36 am)

    Flowerpetal: Way to go by insulting so many people with one snarky post. You must be very unhappy.

    My sympathies to the folks who lost their new home.

  • donnie November 27, 2009 (1:12 pm)

    snarky maybe… but true, Idon’t have problems with the truth.

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