City plans ‘after-action review’ of Arbor Heights fire’s water woes

(Saturday photo by Katie Meyer)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The slack hoses told the story early on at Saturday evening’s house fire in Arbor Heights.

But what was really the problem that led to an inadequate water supply/pressure for firefighters, and forced them to run hoses to relatively distant hydrants?

(Saturday photo by Tony Bradley)
(You can see some of the effects in this bystander video we just found.) A spokesperson for Seattle Public Utilities, which is accountable for the hydrants, tells WSB that SPU and the Seattle Fire Department plan an “after-action review” of the incident.

That’s part of what emerged in our follow-up conversation this afternoon with SPU’s Andy Ryan.

First – for those in the area worried about other possible hydrant problems, Ryan said SPU crews checked Saturday night not only the two hydrants that were apparently having trouble early on in the fire, but also others in the area, and found no problems. He says SPU believes the nearest hydrants were actually working – but maybe something “upstream” was keeping adequate water from reaching the hookup.

The “after-action review” will examine “possible system and possible human contributions to the inability to get water onto the fire,” Ryan said. “It’s too early to tell which … factors were to blame.”

Also over a time frame that Ryan described as “the next couple of weeks,” he said SPU will “look at the overall water pressure in that area – some areas have less water pressure than others.” The water mains’ size could be an issue too, he said. (WSB commenters have discussed a belief the area has smaller mains, but we haven’t been able to find a map we remember was on the city website a few years ago showing the size and age of water pipes.)

Ryan did not have immediate access to the answer to our question about when the two hydrants near the fire scene were last inspected. He contended that overall, “Seattle arguably has the best fire-hydrant inspection program in Western Washington, and the best repair rate.” SFD checks each hydrant at least once a year, “to become familiar with the peculiarities of individual hydrants.” He says SPU then gets a report from SFD if anything is found amiss – even grass growing around the hydrant, or, “we’ve had service orders for dog droppings” around the hydrants.

Bottom line, according to Ryan, is that it is “premature” to blame the water problems on the hydrants. As Fire Chief Gregory Dean had explained on Saturday night, SFD has backup plans/procedures for firefighters to keep going until they find a reliable supply.

(Saturday photo by Katie Meyer)
The initial situation was made worse by the fact that while fire engines carry 500 gallons of water as a backup supply, a ladder truck – which doesn’t carry water – was first to arrive, because two engines were out on a medic call. The closest fire station to Arbor Heights is 37 in Sunrise Heights, and Engine 37 was with Engine 11 (from Highland Park) trying to save an injured child in High Point (look for the 30th SW call on the archived 911 log).

The issue of Arbor Heights fire-response time has come up in recent discussions about White Center (etc.) annexation; even City Council President Richard Conlin wrote earlier this year that if WC/North Highline was part of Seattle, “Arbor Heights will get better fire service from the North Highline fire station than it currently gets from our Seattle fire station.” Right now, though, Burien is moving to explore annexation instead, while Seattle has shelved its possible further consideration till early next year.

We’ll continue to follow up. Meantime, a reminder that Arbor Heights Community Church, which is close to the burned home, has organized a donation drive to help the family who lost their home and belongings (as well as two turtles, though other pets were rescued/found). We published information about it in this story last night. We are also reminded that in addition to the church office hours 10 am-2 pm through Thursday, there is a long-scheduled crime-prevention meeting at the church tomorrow (Tuesday) night at 7 pm, and church member/volunteer Jerri Anne Forehand, who’s spearheading the drive, says donations will be accepted during that event as well .

37 Replies to "City plans 'after-action review' of Arbor Heights fire's water woes"

  • DC August 29, 2011 (11:48 pm)

    Hmmm….That still doesnt make me feel any better or secure about the situation here. My thoughts go out to the family. I am so sorry for your devastating loss.

  • AJ August 30, 2011 (12:16 am)

    The fire department had a lot of hurdles to overcome on this fire, from the first two engines being out to a lack of water pressure from the hydrants.

    I want to point out two things in response to what City Council President Conlin has said in regards to North Highline. First; the North Highline station may be closer, but it is staffed with fewer firefighters. Second; I believe this may be the most important point. Ask your city council if North Highline engines are dispatched automatically to a house fire in Seattle if they are close, and vice versa. I think the answer may shock you. Even if they are close different agencies engines are not automatically dispatched. They have to be requested… and that takes time. As a taxpayer, you should ask if fire stations can cross boundaries that exist only on paper. It costs neither agency anything to have automatic mutual aid. When someone is sick or injured, or a house is on fire, the closest firefighters should respond. Period.


  • silverback August 30, 2011 (7:47 am)

    AJ- no news here. I had a TV reporter come by the house a few years ago and ask me if I wanted to comment on being in the “dead zone”. Arbor Heights has one of the longest response times for emergency services in the city. I live south of SW 106 and a fire truck or aid car can get to my home much faster from the North Highline station than the one at 35th & Holden.

  • ElevenTruckmen August 30, 2011 (8:16 am)


  • MargL August 30, 2011 (8:57 am)

    silverback – I saw that news story years ago about Arbor Heights being the worst place in the city to have heart attack due to response times.

    Are there more engines/crew assigned to the 35th and Holden station since it remodeled and moved?

  • ElevenTruckmen August 30, 2011 (9:17 am)

    @ MargL After the remodel the staffing stayed the same.

  • foy boy August 30, 2011 (9:44 am)

    With all the talk about slow respones times, doe the city know that theres a elementry school also in arbor heights? What if the fire was at the school with all the kids in class. The only redeeming factor in this is no one was hurt or killed in this fire. Oh has anyone seen SPU in the hood fixing things. With hydrants not working and slow respones times, are our kids at risk?

  • BDD August 30, 2011 (10:04 am)

    I lived in Arbor Heights for 5 years and while I loved it for many reasons, I can confirm that this part of the city is an afterthought to everyone from SDOT, SPU, SPD, SFD, etc. Remember getting services back after the big windstorm of 2006?

  • Jim & Deana August 30, 2011 (10:33 am)

    Fire Hydrants are the cause.2 years ago i observed 2 Utility working on the hydrant. They opened the caps and turned the water on. Surprise.. no water. The valve was completely corroded. NO WATER. They worked for 5 hours to finally pull the old valve out and replace it with a brand new one. I asked them how often do they check on hydrants. The reply was every 2 years. Now I can rest easy, but I am sure it was not low pressure, it was NO PRESSURE at the hydrant Don’t blame the Fire Dept. It is public works to blame. If you have a hydrant MAKE SURE it works. If not.You can be next to burn. Call SPD and demand a check on your hydrant. I KNOW and now you know too.

  • Gina August 30, 2011 (11:07 am)

    The quote from Conlin was IF the city of Seattle annexed North Highline, Arbor Heights would have better fire service.

    North Highline/White Center was not annexed, so their fire station is not going to be serving Arbor Heights.

    The fun continues with who comes when there is an accident on Roxbury St. What Ave intersects it, and where the car ends up when hit (south side of road? north side of road? Original impact was on what side of road? Hit and run? did they pull a U turn and run off on the county side, or the city side…

  • AJ August 30, 2011 (12:09 pm)


    Absolutely! It’s always interesting at the border. I guess my point is that sometimes people wait longer because help can only come from one side of “their” area. Some people in south park have to wait for a much farther county engine to come when there is a much closer city one, and vice versa in Arbor Heights. Ask your local fire departments why they don’t have automatic mutual aid. There is no good answer. It’s done in other cities all the time. I guess political boundaries are more important than lives and property.


  • Kris August 30, 2011 (12:18 pm)

    “AJ” is eluding to the complete lack of reciprocal response plans between the City of Seattle Fire Department and neighboring jurisdictions. In the fire service world, this is called “automatic aid” and Seattle would rarely (if ever) call for a closer non-Seattle fire/ems unit–even if it is closer.

    In the case of this fire, both SFD Engine’s 11 and 37 were unfortunately busy on a serious medical call. While the next closest unit was a ladder truck (also out of Station 11), the closest engine (that holds 500 gallons of water and does the pumping) came from Station 32, which is located at 38th Ave SW and SW Alaska St.

    The distance from Station 32 and the fire location is just over 4 miles. Seattle Station 26 (South Park) is also about 4 miles away as well, and it too was at the fire.

    The actual closest engine to this location was North Highline Fire Station 18, which is located pretty-much at 16th Ave SW and SW 112th Street. It is located almost exactly 2 miles from the house in question.

    Stations 37 and 11 are about 2 and 3 miles away–respectively. But, as mentioned before, these two units were unavailable.

    Since the issue of the “dead zone” is again being brought up, it is also noteworthy that paramedic coverage for this area is even more suspect. West Seattle has ONE medic unit.(these units provide advanced life support care for the sickest and most injured patients)

    If the west seattle medic unit is unvailable, the next closest medic unit comes from the Rainier Valley! After that, they start coming from downtown (at Harborview), and then from Greenlake, Ballard and finally from Northgate. What about the county medic units you ask? Couldn’t they send one of their units, which might be much closer? Nope. It is extremely rare for Seattle to request this type of assistance.

    If your loved one is having the big one–you will potentially wait a LONG time for advanced care to arrive.

    But of course, it Seattle annexed the remaining area of NH, then most of these problems would be solved, right?

  • Crispy August 30, 2011 (12:39 pm)

    We live 2 blocks from the house. Yesterday we drove by and there was a city water truck there doing some work.

    It is clearly a City issue and I don’t doubt that many other hydrants in our neighborhood don’t work. I have only lived here a year, but I have never seen a fire truck or utility truck come to inspect they hydrant on our block our or water meter. Who do you call to have your hydrant inspected?

  • Jeff August 30, 2011 (6:41 pm)

    I guess ,living in south Arbor Heights, that if I had a serious medical condition I’d be better off have someone drive me to 26th & 106th and then call 911!

  • ElevenTruckmen August 30, 2011 (9:21 pm)

    Holy cow no! Jeff, I hope you are being sarcastic. If so please state as such. It is never a better option to load up and drive to a fire station. The chances of them being there to help run 50-50. If you call and give an address the chances of getting help are 100%. Please do not even plant that seed of an idea in anybody’s mind. It is wrong wrong wrong!

  • ltfd August 30, 2011 (9:30 pm)

    “I guess ,living in south Arbor Heights, that if I had a serious medical condition I’d be better off have someone drive me to 26th & 106th and then call 911!”
    Actually, Jeff, you could be worse off, farther away from emergency medical care, if North Highline units were already out on an emergency response.
    I came from the L.A. area (sorry everybody) where automatic mutual aid was standard for Fire Department operations. The closest appropriate units would be automatically dispatched to reported emergencies, regardless of political boundaries. This ensures the fastest response to an emergency situation- but the political “leaders” have to get their butts in gear to accomplish these agreements.
    As far as the house fire situation goes, the problem in the Arbor Heights neighborhood stems from insufficient “fire flow” from the smaller water mains. Needed fire flow is the amount of water that should be available for providing fire protection at selected locations throughout a community. The Insurance Services Office (ISO)has prepared a guide for estimating needed fire flow.
    Ask Seattle Public Utilities what the fire flow is from the hydrants on the 4″ mains. Generally, 500 gallons per minute is the recommended minimum available flow. I believe that many of the neighborhood hydrants will not provide even half of that. Flow tests are in order, and insurers will be scrutinizing the situation in Arbor Heights.

  • sam-c August 31, 2011 (7:19 am)

    “I believe that many of the neighborhood hydrants will not provide even half of that. Flow tests are in order, and insurers will be scrutinizing the situation in Arbor Heights.”

    so does that mean that insurance rates in certain areas could go up based on this ?

  • AJ August 31, 2011 (10:45 am)

    There are 2 issues with these fire hydrants. The pressure is lower than most places, approx 80 psi. But the larger issue is that the water lines on all streets with the exeption of sw 100 St and 39 ave sw which are 8″ water mains happen to be 4″ water mains. The result is the majority of the hydrants in arbor heights are only able to supply a single fire hose of our smallest size at it’s lowest setting. The solution as said before is simple but costly. Replace all 4″ water lines with at least 6″ lines. 8″. Would be better because low pressure is also a problem in the area. The ff who work in the area are aware of the problems with water there but they are not always going to be the people responding. E 32 arrived at a fire that required 1000+ gallons per minute of water, and almost every hydrant in the area is only capable of supplying 150 gallons per minute, barely.

  • Kris August 31, 2011 (11:35 am)

    @Aj, so was the real problem at the fire a “broken” fire hydrant problem or an actual water flow/volume problem?

    Now that I’ve heard more information on this incident, I’m starting to wonder if the problem was simply over-flowing the capacity of the hydrants in question. Based on the fire flow calcs for this fire (which is another topic all together), I can see how the the deployment of larger diameter lines (like a 2 1/2″ combo and/or smoothbore tip) simply resulted in a lack of water condition. Do you have any info on what lines were pulled? Let’s say the hydrant was only capable of flowing 500 GPM, but two 2 1/2″ lines were pulled. Well, there’s a problem right there, since each of those lines can flow 300+ per minute. If this is the case, then this fire (easily) exceeded the water flow requirement. If I was still living in AH/Arroyos Beach area, I would begin researching this and finding out EXACTLY what the flows are for this area. I’m sure Seattle had sone little in terms of infrastructure upgrades since they annexed that area in the 1960’s (or whenever it was).

    SPU has some splainin’ to do….

  • AJ August 31, 2011 (11:56 am)

    The hydrant is not broken, the water distribution system up there is insufficient for anything beyond a single roomfire. A 2 1/2 was pulled and needed, but the 4″ main at 70-80 psi is not sufficient supply for a 2 1/2″ line. We were barely able to supply a 1 3/4″ line from the hydrants in that area. It would not have mattered how close the responding units came from for a fire anywhere near that size. The water supply needs to be taken from a larger distribution main.

  • Dwight August 31, 2011 (12:58 pm)

    Unfortunately, when the City of Seattle annexed the Arbor Heights area infrastructure review and upgrades were (are) not important issues – just the additional tax base I am assuming. Water and road conditions are deplorable. Water issues are brought to light by this unfortunate house fire, road conditions are obvious by traveling on 35th Avenue south of Roxbury; road shoulder improvements were promised prior to the annexation but have never been delivered.

  • ta August 31, 2011 (1:01 pm)

    I know for a fact response time in our area is low. a friend of mine on 106th had to wait 15 minutes for police to arrive at her house while her family was terrorized by someone banging on their door. I also live in Arbor Heights and have noticed problems with our water for years: low pressure, running brown off and on. I know our pipes are super old, but don’t have the funds to replace them. Love Arbor Heights though!! My thoughts are with this family. It could have been any of us!

  • Suzanne August 31, 2011 (2:15 pm)

    I really appreciate all the info coming from some of you who are apparently fire fighters. Thanks so much. Do any of you know the reason why there is not automatic mutual aid in this area? And what can we do to try to get this to happen? It sounds like the firefighters are for it, but not the city leaders. Is that accurate?

  • Alpha Delta August 31, 2011 (3:34 pm)

    Areas much larger than Arbor Heights have been annexed into Seattle over several decades. Along with those additions, came their substandard or absent water and sewer systems.

    Unlike Arbor Heights, property owners in places like Haller Lake and Lake City voted to form Local Improvement Districts. These paper entities assessed watermain upgrade costs against the benefitting properties within the upgrade district. In fact, virtually all local water and sewer mains in Seattle exist because the immediately adjacent property owners paid for them directly. Our water rates pay for operation of a system that was built through special property assessments. Water rates also pay for systemwide facilities such as dams, reservoirs, and trunk lines.

    Proposed Local Improvement District (LID) watermain upgrades have twice been voted down by previous Arbor Heights property owners. That, my friends, is why this neigborhood’s water system can only support one 1-3/4″ attack line.

    The hydrants in the area are tested by Engine 37 every year. They work. They are not the problem. The problem is low flow capacity within this undersized pipe grid.

    Regardless of the response time of the first arriving engine (Engine 32) operations on Saturday were successful in 1) stopping the spread of the fire to the exposures using immediately available water, and 2) using long lays to develop a more typical supply from standard mains on the perimeter of the low-flow grid.

    If area homeowners want more than just a successful rural firefighting operation, then they need to ante up for more than a 1930’s rural water system. It’s a financial sacrifice that families in most other areas of Seattle have made a long time ago.

  • AJ1 August 31, 2011 (9:29 pm)

    @ Alpha Delta

    Excellent information that I’m sure some were not aware of!

    That being said having local resources out is still not a reason why a neighboring Fire agency is not automatically called for something like a house fire. It’s just common sense that fire stations would work like an overlapping grid. Political boundaries and local leaders have made that impossible. Firefighters are more than willing, eager even, to respond to a house fire and do what they can. They are frustrated by entrenched cultures that do what they do, “because that’s how we’ve always done it.”

    Firefighters know that the system doesn’t always make sense, civilians do not. Seattle Fire has huge amounts of resources and staffing, but there is still always room for improvement. Automatic mutual aid would be tops on the list, and that goes for neighboring jurisdictions as well. Those agencies don’t have the staffing or resources that Seattle Fire has and there is still a reluctance towards automatic mutual aid. This could have easily happened across the border and the North Highline stations could have been out. It’s time that citizens in the border areas ask some hard questions of their local leaders. Make sure that your fire stations respond like a well coordinated grid, regardless of political boundaries. Ask before something tragic happens.


  • Alpha Delta September 1, 2011 (9:06 am)


    Instituting change is easier said than done in any large organization, especially when effective operations rely on the use of consistent protocols and the avoidance of experimentation. Protocols exist because they represent the best practices for the most cases under the majority of variable conditions. Specific evolutions and broader practices tend to be self-affirming because they work damn well nearly every time.

    I don’t dispute the value of automatic mutual aide, but innovation and consistency are both necessary attributes for the fire service; they will always be in dynamic tension. The key is striking the right balance.

    The natural stress between consistency and innovation has played itself out in house fire tactics over the years. Water was a big problem in many annexation areas for years. SFD addressed those conditions with the classic “Plan 6″ by the first in engine company, followed with a preconnect attack by the second in engine. In essence, SFD would build a 3-1/2″ fire main upon arrival, and only began attacking the fire after that supply was well on its way to being established. A 200-gallon tank left little margin for getting too far ahead of your supply.

    As various neighborhoods upgraded their local water systems (and rigs began to carry more water) these tactics ceased to represent best practices. Seattle now takes for granted a 200 GPM attack by the first in engine, backed by a supply from a good hydrant not more than 200 feet away. Good stops are now the norm because tactics changed to capture the benefits of improved water availability.

    So evolutions evolve. Unfortunately, the water system in Arbor Heights has not. However, a preconnect attack by the first in company is still generally effective in Arbor Heights. My understanding is that even the existing 4” system will sustain 250 GPM continuously. But a (long) reverse lay still needs to be part of the program out there, where in other parts of the city, big water is much closer at hand.

    The first water to reach Engine 32 came from SW 100th St (1-1/2 blocks away.) The more distant lays, including the now-famous 11-block lay, were in no way a waste. There was a real potential for a group fire, which might have required the multiple supplies.

    So what about evolution in the area of resource management? Your point on automatic mutual aid is valid. Years ago, automatic mutual aid would have been extremely one-sided. However, Shoreline, Northshore, and North Highline ceased to be volunteer organizations long ago. They have what Seattle sometimes needs: 24×7 career staffing at stations near the outer limits of our resource coverage. We have what they sometimes need: resource depth. If we continue to view the city limits as the endpoints of civilization, then should we not be filling in at 24’s 39’s 37’s and other border stations nearly every time they’re out of service? Don’t like the looks of that? Good. Automatic mutual aid starts to look a whole lot more practical.

  • Gene September 1, 2011 (2:56 pm)

    I’ve lived in AH for 20+ years and have never seen a fire hydrant tested. I have worked at home for a number of those years and my house has big picture windows – I’d think I’d have noticed.
    . . . . .

    I’d like to see WSB to publish a log of inspections over the past couple of years. I’d also like to know why pressure can’t be tested. Attaching a nozzle, turning the water to full and seeing how far the stream goes would do the trick, wouldn’t it?
    . . . . .

    At the AHCC meeting on Tuesday an elder neighbor asserted that the problem goes back to the original annexation of AH where promises were made for upgraded services but never delivered. He pointed out that there was a country fire station in AH (now a church) but it was closed and not replaced. Does anyone know anything about the commitments made at annexation?
    . . . . .

    The expensive view properties on the bluff and the Arroyos would be especially vulnerable, I’d think.
    . . . . .

    Reciprocal services from neighboring jurisdictions seems like a no brainer for everyone. If WC/NH was annexed, what is to say that the existing station wouldn’t be closed as the SFD doesn’t have the resources to maintain it. I understand that other existing SFD stations are to be closed.
    . . . . .

    Also, if the necessary assets were tied up when a core emergency occurred, doesn’t that point to inadequate facility levels for the other needs? Clearly having a water carrying asset available would have made a difference — and be far less costly than re-doing the water mains.
    . . . . .

    Clearly the SFD does not have a GIS showing the current state of the hydrants they will be working with. Onboard water would obviously be the quickest way to address any fire.

  • Alpha Delta September 1, 2011 (4:45 pm)

    An unmanned fire engine was housed in the sealed-up bays of the old community club building at 42nd Ave SW & SW 100th St. Yes, the large building is now occupied by a church. Seattle’s Engine 37 could respond to the AH area quicker than a volunteer crew could be mustered for the old volunteer engine. Service was actually made quicker and more robust with annexation. In about 1970, a new engine company was added by Seattle in the Highland Park neigborhood. A third Seattle station for the area was projected for the vicinity of Rox Hill Elementary School. But that plan presumed early annexation of White Center, which didn’t happen.

    Don’t wring your hands too much over the water situation in Arroyo neighborhood. Each homeowner there dropped a chunk of change back in the 1980s for replacement of their then-inadequate water mains.

  • AJ1 September 1, 2011 (6:22 pm)

    Alpha Delta once again good info. I should have been more specific in that the body of my last post was not directed at you. Just the first line.

    I like it… it looks like we are addressing a two headed problem.

    1. Inadequate water supplies for a large volume of fire on arrival. Which we know happens. We tested the hydrant in front of the fire house the other day. It can’t support 100 ft of 1 3/4 with a 15/16 smoothbore nozzle for very long. That tells me it can’t support anywhere close to 250 gpm. Maybe one bad hydrant? Maybe the other hydrants on the 4 inch mains can….can you trust it, I don’t know. Tactics need to be revised. The 500 gallons you carry being the most reliable water source and the only thing you can count on for a imminent rescue fire attack. Just my thought.

    2. Automatic mutual aid. I agree with every point you made. It’s a zero cost change, but a big cultural one,…still time to make it. We (SFD) benefit as much as they (surrounding districts do) do. Time to make a push….I hope you are with me.

    We can’t afford to not be prepared for this situation (at 4 in the morning with a rescue to be made) again. We prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Just because something worked in the past doesn’t mean it works now. Time to change. I hope our leadership are reading this and are ready to adjust their policies. If your not on the run card your too late.


    • WSB September 1, 2011 (6:31 pm)

      FWIW I have asked for SFD comment on the mutual-aid issue. Didn’t get a response today. Holiday weekend syndrome? Don’t know, but will keep pushing. Also a good issue for those concerned to bring up with City Council – I believe that CM Tim Burgess, as Public Safety (etc.) Committee chair, would be accountable on that level – TR

  • AJ September 1, 2011 (7:26 pm)


    Thanks for pointing out who to contact. It’s an obvious public safety issue that needs to be pursued. There is a famous fire quote that says, “Tonight could be the night.”


    • WSB September 1, 2011 (8:35 pm)

      AJ – Probably wouldn’t be relevant to any mutual aid discussion, but I’m covering the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council tonight and it seems the NH Fire District is close to a new contract with the Burien/Normandy Park district that will in effect operationally all but combine them, even though NH is still unincorporated, as a four-station district. (NH would not have its own chief, for example.) More details up at White Center Now once the meeting’s over – TR

  • Jeff September 2, 2011 (7:07 am)

    To ElevenTruckmen,

    Yes, 100% sarcastic. Thanks for your comment – I didn’t intend to plant a seed for anyone else.

  • Jill Christenson September 3, 2011 (9:48 am)

    I’ve lived in AH for 23 years. My experience in calling 911 a couple of times is that, the dispatcher wants to “discuss” whether I am in Seattle or not. (At 41st & 102nd) Meanwhile gun fire rang out at a “party” across the street.

    A few years ago a new house was squeezed in next to me as part of the “Urban Village” initiative. (Thanks you former Mayor X). The contractor, Mr. Crooks (no kidding) cut down every living plant and tree, elevated the lot 5 feet and neglected to put in drainage. This, added to the fact that there are no drains in the intersection above me, amounts to a severe drainage problem which causes flooding in my crawl space. Still trying to get some help with that.

    I definitely feel like a step child of the city. The Seattle city tax office however is very efficient. I’ve never had them decline a payment.

  • wsbliss September 3, 2011 (5:31 pm)

    Re: ” Unlike Arbor Heights, property owners in places like Haller Lake and Lake City voted to form Local Improvement Districts. These paper entities assessed watermain upgrade costs against the benefitting properties within the upgrade district. In fact, virtually all local water and sewer mains in Seattle exist because the immediately adjacent property owners paid for them directly.”

    …in a nutshell, it sounds like the AH residents (of which I am one — since 2008) are to blame for the antiquated water system, and we have a choice to either form a LID and upgrade or to remain more vulnerable to total losses from fires.

    How do we form a LID? WSB, is contacting CM Tim Burgess the first step?

    This string of comments has been particularly informative. Thank you!

    • WSB September 3, 2011 (8:00 pm)

      WSBliss, that one I don’t know, but will look into. In the short run – nothing you can do about it till Tuesday, but certainly you could inquire with his office, as the job of staffers in councilpeople’s offices is to help constituents, and that would certainly be an appropriate question. I meantime asked SFD about the mutual aid issue and got a response that they didn’t have any plans to change the way things work now; have not yet written a followup including that – TR

  • AJ1 September 3, 2011 (9:36 pm)

    I’m looking forward to followup on the mutual aid issue. This is not necessarily just an SFD issue. SFD engines are not immediately dispatched to fires in North Highline either, this unfortunate situation could easily be reversed. The point is to make local leaders realize that there is a completely made up wall between the county and city that keeps fire resources from being used where they are most effective. No matter what, units are going to be out of service sometimes close to the border. Without utilizing the resources on, “The other side of the street” your looking at long response times. The firefighters are willing to cross the street,…you just have to let them.

Sorry, comment time is over.