Update: ‘Suspicious’ house fire in Gatewood, 1 hurt

(TUESDAY EVENING NOTE: This fire has now been ruled arson, and we have started a new story here.)

(Photo courtesy Kathryn, added at 1:02 pm)
10:37 AM: On our way to check out the house-fire call in Gatewood, 7100 block of 39th SW.

(WSB photo by Tracy Record)
11:03 AM: One man taken to hospital.

(Photo courtesy Ben, taken shortly after firefighters arrived)
11:08 AM: Back from the scene – we still have two people there. We talked to neighbors who called 911 and said that at one point, a corner of the house was fully engulfed in flames. They didn’t see anyone else brought out of the house – just the man who was taken to the hospital. (We saw him on the stretcher before he was taken away – he appeared to be alert.) This is in a very steep area near Orchard Street Ravine. And yes, this is why choppers are here – TV news. Police are there to help investigate as well as to keep traffic away from the area.

(Video by Christopher Boffoli)
11:13 AM: Fire Department spokesperson Kyle Moore has just briefed media at the scene (video added 12:51 pm). Crews arriving at the fire about half an hour ago found the fire burning in three different areas of the house. The man who was taken to the hospital was found out front, Moore says, suffering from burns.

(WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli)
12:13 PM: The address for the fire has been revised from the one that was originally on the 911 log. Research indicates that it may indeed have been vacant, as a commenter noted. Police are not confirming an arson investigation at this point. They have taped off the scene; SFD calls the fire “suspicious” since it was burning in three different spots – two bedrooms and the kitchen – when they arrived.

(WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli)
12:58 PM: We have confirmed the identity of the man who was taken to the hospital; he is listed in county records as a co-owner of the house. He is listed in satisfactory condition. We have also just gone back to the fire scene to check on the investigation; police and firefighters are still there – still no official cause, but we’re likely to find out within a few hours.

22 Replies to "Update: 'Suspicious' house fire in Gatewood, 1 hurt"

  • LyndaB June 28, 2011 (10:42 am)

    You can see the black smoke from far away. Hope everyone is ok.

  • seattlecris June 28, 2011 (10:45 am)

    Is that a news helicopter over it or something else?

  • Wallflower June 28, 2011 (10:47 am)

    Is that what the helicopter is all about?

  • Rob June 28, 2011 (10:50 am)

    There’s a news helicopter hovering over there as well.

  • Cclarue June 28, 2011 (10:54 am)

    Is that what the helicopter is all about?

  • Wendy June 28, 2011 (11:00 am)

    So sad… the smoke is massive. Please give us an update on the owners ASAP.

  • Kae June 28, 2011 (11:01 am)

    My neighbor said the house on fire has been abandoned for a month.

    The helicopter was hovering before the fire trucks responded though, how did it respond faster than the fire trucks?

  • ws June 28, 2011 (11:23 am)

    Abandoned? can’t wait to hear this one. Good shot WSB.

    • WSB June 28, 2011 (11:40 am)

      I am looking up records on the house but we always have to be careful because sometimes the 911 log shows the address from which the call was made rather than the exact house address – I went up a driveway across the street to get the overview before Christopher (and then Patrick) arrived and did not see the house number, but the county records for this address show a house that doesn’t quite look like the one that burned (of course county records don’t always keep up with remodels) – Since SPD is involved, we’ll be checking with them too – TR

      • WSB June 28, 2011 (11:51 am)

        … and in fact, the scanner just reveals, the address for the fire is NOT the one that was on the 911 log for the past hour-plus …

  • coffee June 28, 2011 (11:30 am)

    Kyle Moore, wasn’t he a reporter on channel 5?

    • WSB June 28, 2011 (11:38 am)

      Yes, Kyle was a TV reporter at a couple local stations before recently joining SFD as a public-information officer – another communications staffer at SFD, Helen Fitzpatrick, is a former TV journalist too (she worked on the assignment desk at Q13 when I joined that station in 2001). – TR

  • Alki resident June 28, 2011 (11:38 am)

    Kind of strange to have three separate areas on fire.Almost sounds like arson.

  • Dunno June 28, 2011 (11:39 am)

    Looks to be a sad story behind this. I just happend to be taking a short cut by this home around 8am and noticed garbage cans knock over and crows all over it. Hope the best for this family.

  • chrisma June 28, 2011 (11:53 am)

    KOMO (substandard news source that they are) has a story up indicating that the fire has been deemed suspicious by investigators. http://westseattle.komonews.com/news/911/investigators-deem-west-seattle-fire-suspicious/649752

  • Gunnerddog June 28, 2011 (12:12 pm)

    This house was not abandoned.

  • rachelgab June 28, 2011 (12:39 pm)

    I could see the smoke from my apartment in Beacon Hill!

  • seatown June 28, 2011 (2:19 pm)

    Is that one house? Looks like an apt. bldg. Typically fires that rage like that are set. We shall see.

    • WSB June 28, 2011 (2:30 pm)

      Yes, single-family house, built 1969. I have just checked back with SPD and still not any word of arson investigators having been called in … they are waiting for SFD to make a determination … TR

  • sam-c June 28, 2011 (3:05 pm)

    the fire is out, isn’t it? couldn’t tell from the story, but was wondering, since it is at the top of the page.

    • WSB June 28, 2011 (3:13 pm)

      Yes, it’s out. My note explains that we’re keeping it atop the page but adding new news beneath it – our system enables us to designate a big story as “sticky” and we do that from time to time. I frankly was expecting they would have the cause by now and we would know whether it was arson, but if it’s not in by 4 or so, I’m just going to unstick it and move on. The stories that currently are “below” it will then be above it, the time stamps are all correct, though … TR

  • Dunno June 28, 2011 (3:56 pm)

    Reminds me of a story my dad told me about a fire once.

    Dad: It was a friction fire
    Me: Oh yeah?
    Dad: Yeah, when the mortgage starts rubbing up against the insurance.

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