VIDEO: Electrical problem blamed for van fire inside Morgan Junction condo-building garage; no one hurt

(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:

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.

19 Replies to "VIDEO: Electrical problem blamed for van fire inside Morgan Junction condo-building garage; no one hurt"

  • Mike April 15, 2015 (3:46 pm)

    What are all the police sirens on Harbor Ave? First they were westbound; now back eastbound.

    • WSB April 15, 2015 (3:59 pm)

      Don’t know about any police sirens. More units are headed for the fire, could be those, some equipment coming from across the bridge, too.

  • Wssue April 15, 2015 (3:48 pm)

    SFD ladder truck & “mobile ventilation unit” westbound across the bridge right now

  • Kimberly April 15, 2015 (3:52 pm)

    Thank you! Wondering what all the sirens were. Glad everyone is okay!

  • Mike April 15, 2015 (4:09 pm)

    No, these units were not going to fire. They went out Harbor , westbound, many units. Then they returned. Sirens started up around The bridge exit onto Harbor, and ended around there on the return. I could not see the units clearly, but they looked like black-and-whites.

    • WSB April 15, 2015 (4:27 pm)

      Mike – Might have been going to a confusing call near 35th and Morgan where there was concern a woman had been forced into a car. Did not quite pan out, but police were still sorting out exactly what did happen. – TR

  • ~HockeyWitch~ April 15, 2015 (4:10 pm)

    Was just down at the Subway on California… Black smoke as I pulled up, by the time I got out of my car and to the sidewalk, it was turning white…. As I was leaving “Kramer” (ladder truck with a driver on the back) was just getting there followed by a truck with a HUGE Red water container on it’s back….
    Sorry about the car burning, but I hope the owner got away from it safe and all the people living there are all ok.

  • Betsy April 15, 2015 (4:16 pm)

    My mom lives in the condo building next door and is watching from her deck. The building is evacuated and the smoke is still very thick and coming out of the building doors not only the garage. There are a number of ambulances and a ladder truck there too.

    • WSB April 15, 2015 (4:26 pm)

      Just added updated info after our crew talked with SFD’s Kyle Moore. No one has had to go to the hospital but some were checked for possible smoke inhalation because some smoke got into the lobby. – TR

  • Lynne April 15, 2015 (4:51 pm)

    Any updates on this fire?

    • WSB April 15, 2015 (5:01 pm)

      Lynne, we’ve been updating all along – please see above. Wet – that’s the MVU we referenced (see photo above). Definitely needed in something like this.

  • wetone April 15, 2015 (4:53 pm)

    Just witnessed the worlds most expensive hair dryer run for 5 minutes. Couldn’t believe it when as i saw 2 SFD employees drive up in it. I think I counted about 25 SFD vehicles there. Glad there was no other emergencies during this time.

  • ~HockeyWitch~ April 15, 2015 (5:37 pm)

    Wetone…. that’s funny, hairdryer…LOL. :) I saw it drive by me as it was arriving and only saw it from the back side, thought it was a big water tank… just saw the picture showing it was a fan.

  • Debbie Rodgers April 15, 2015 (5:38 pm)

    My brother and his family live in these condos. Sure glad everyone is ok and they got it in time.

  • vanessa April 15, 2015 (5:50 pm)

    of course it was a volkswagon.

  • Samantha April 15, 2015 (6:20 pm)

    Wow, yes. I saw this and I looked at it, and then I wondered what it was. Now I’m reading this, and I know what it was. Praying.

  • Seaview April 15, 2015 (6:56 pm)

    RIP vanagon

  • candrewb April 15, 2015 (7:06 pm)

    An electrical problem with a VW? Are the sure?

  • iggy April 16, 2015 (8:14 am)

    Ah the joys of old VWs. My Rabbit caught on fire in the old Mt. Baker tunnel during rush hour back in the 1970s. So, as candrewb says, tongue-in-cheek I presume: “An electrical problem with a VW? Are they sure?”
    Actually, I live just a few houses away, and this was a scary situation. Glad the damage was limited. Glad everyone is okay.

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