(First three photos by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
3:39 PM: Avoid California SW south of Morgan Junction – a fire response has closed California in the 6900 block (map), south of Fauntleroy. It’s reported to be a car fire inside the garage of an
apartment condo complex. Firefighters on the scene report heavy smoke and they’re having trouble getting to the source of the fire.
3:45 PM: Firefighters report they have “water on the fire” now.
3:50 PM: Fire’s still being fought; people in the building have been evacuated.
Though it’s a garage fire, lots of smoke is still coming out, and that’s being seen for a long ways around. No word of any injuries.
The big MVU ventilation unit is on the way to help.
(Updated photo: MVU in action)
4:01 PM: Again, California is blocked between Mills and Willow, lots of SFD. Investigators are on the way, to be ready to go in when it’s safe. Firefighters just reported by radio that they have searched upper floors of the building to make sure everyone got out OK.
(Added: Photo courtesy Diana Phelps)
We haven’t heard yet if the fire has spread beyond the garage at all, but as you can see in our photo, the smoke has been heavy. While it’s been described as apartments, county records show this is actually a 28-unit condominium building called Cinnamon Ridge.
4:20 PM: The MVU is being dismissed. Meantime, Metro has sent an alert that Route 22 is rerouted because of the fire. (Use stops north of Fauntleroy or south of Myrtle.)
We’ve just gotten briefed by SFD spokesperson Kyle Moore, who says: A VW Bus about 70 feet inside the garage is what caught fire. It was just underneath some of the building’s major electrical conduit, so the building has no power right now – they asked City Light to shut it off – and they’re evaluating the situation. A few residents were evaluated for possible smoke inhalation because of smoke in the lobby but no one needed hospitalization, we’re told.
4:50 PM: More units are being dismissed from the scene. We’ll update when the road reopens – for now, if you’re headed this way, you’ll want to access California south of Myrtle via Holden or Thistle from 35th. Meantime, our crew is back at HQ and we’re adding more photos.
5:19 PM: Adding video of SFD briefing mentioned above. California has now reopened both ways.
6:02 PM: Fire’s cause determined, we found out while revisiting the scene and talking to Moore, who had just tweeted it:
California AV SW fire caused by electrical event in VW van. Damage estimate $55k damage pic.twitter.com/qmtxcAlFv2
— Seattle Fire Dept (@SeattleFire) April 16, 2015
The last units are just now leaving the scene. Moore also told us no major damage to other vehicles in the garage because the van’s owner pushed it out of its space for more separation.
11:02 PM: We’ve learned that the building’s residents were advised to stay elsewhere tonight as the building management brings in private crews to assess damage and make repairs, especially to the electrical system. They’re expecting an update from building management tomorrow.