UPDATE: SFD investigating 3-house fire SW of Morgan Junction

(FRIDAY MORNING TOPLINE: SFD still on scene investigating)

(WSB video from our first crew on the scene in the early going)
4:48 PM: Smoke is visible from at least a mile away from a house fire in the 6700 block of 46th SW. (map) Updates to come.

4:50 PM: This is now a two-alarm fire – firefighters say at least two houses are on fire, both “well involved.”

(This photo and next are by Trileigh Tucker)
4:54 PM: They’re also dealing with “power lines dropping.” Stay well away from this fire, obviously.

4:59 PM: At least three houses are now reported to be on fire. This is just north of Lincoln Park. Firefighters have had some water trouble.

(Photo by Tony Bradley)
5:03 PM: It’s a “defensive” firefight now. Per scanners, everybody is reported to be out of the houses, as far as SFD knows.

5:11 PM: Sorry if you’re having trouble getting in – lots of site traffic – we’re working on it. Traffic in the area is being blocked – Fauntleroy Way, for one. Routes 116, 118, 119 are rerouted off Fauntleroy between Holly and Myrtle – catch them from California, Metro says:

5:21 PM: Still no word of any injuries. And way too early to say how this started. Seattle Fire PIO Kyle Moore is on site.

(Photo by Diana Phelps)
5:26 PM: Smoke from this has been visible from miles around. We’ve received many photos – will get them up as when we can – showing that, such as this:

5:35 PM: We checked again with SFD spokesperson Moore – this is still a very active firefight. Our crew says one of the houses has completely burned to the ground – we haven’t had a fire like that in this area since the Arbor Heights fire more than two years ago. While they believe all the people got out, firefighters are not sure yet if any pets were lost.

(WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli)
5:41 PM: One of the three houses is “collapsing” – one is being fought defensively, one offensively, per ongoing radio discussion. It’s now been an hour since the first dispatch for this.

(Photo by Ann Pot-Staton)
5:58 PM: Lots of questions in the comments about how to help the fire victims. This is still such an intense scene, they haven’t even been able to call the Red Cross yet, says SFD’s Moore, with whom our on-scene crews are in close contact.

(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
He’s also said more about the earlier water-supply issue – this is a somewhat secluded area (Pelly Place is the neighborhood name) and one line had to be run all the way up to Fauntleroy.

(This WSB photo and next two, by Christopher Boffoli)
6:32 PM: The fire’s not entirely out but the scene is a little calmer. We’ve talked to a Red Cross rep at the scene and their first step in the process of trying to help the fire victims is to get a case number going and to see if the victims want help. They should know more about that in a few hours.

6:48 PM: Continuing to add photos.

Also, we have just confirmed that other jurisdictions to the south have sent fire units as mutual aid, underscoring how big this is – will add a photo of that shortly. (Added: County, Tukwila units – Renton, North Highline, SeaTac also seen, according to our crew):

7:44 PM: Thanks to Aaron for explaining the mutual aid in this comment. Also seen at the scene, newly confirmed Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins:

No answers made public yet regarding how it started and how people can help.

9:27 PM: We are back at the fire scene. Fauntleroy has just reopened.

Willow west of Fauntleroy will remain closed.

11:01 PM: Still awaiting word on the fire’s cause.

8:14 AM FRIDAY: We went back to the scene again to see what’s happening. Fire investigators are still there:

For comparison’s sake – this photo is from the same angle as the video at the top of report, recorded when our crew arrived just ahead of firefighters. Also still awaiting, as discussed in comments, word of how to help the fire victims.

11:44 AM FRIDAY: Here’s a crowdfunding account set up for one of the families.

12:25 PM FRIDAY: And here is another. Please e-mail us at editor@westseattleblog.com with word of anything else – we are launching another story shortly atop the main page and will be including an ongoing list.

137 Replies to "UPDATE: SFD investigating 3-house fire SW of Morgan Junction"

  • Antoinette April 30, 2015 (4:56 pm)

    The trucks are here and they are moving folks out of the way at this time (46th Ave SW/SW Willow St)

  • Joslyn April 30, 2015 (4:59 pm)

    You can see it from the bridge. A firetruck just passed coming from Seattle.

  • petert April 30, 2015 (5:18 pm)

    Is that what the helicopter is hovering for, somewhere near Lowman Beach ?

  • T Rex April 30, 2015 (5:19 pm)

    Just to the north of my house, so very sad.

    King 5 claims no one hurt and all residents are safe.

    Stuff can be replaced, people can’t.

  • linda April 30, 2015 (5:20 pm)

    Police have closed Fauntleroy west of California and are detouring traffic. Avoid the California/Morgan/Fauntleroy intersection if you can.

  • mrsMarty April 30, 2015 (5:24 pm)

    This is so sad and scary, as T Rex says stuff can be replaced but people can’t. Glad everyone got out safely.

  • Kerrie April 30, 2015 (5:25 pm)

    The plume is also highly visible from Genesee Hill and the Junction area. As of 10 minutes ago, it was much larger and thicker than the first plume photo shows. Numerous fire trucks were on their way through the Fauntleroy/Alaska intersection about 20 minutes ago when I was taking my daughter to a class.

    • WSB April 30, 2015 (5:28 pm)

      Yes, this being a 2-alarm fire, that means TONS of fire units. The helicopters are all TV. Again, apologies for our server, perfect storm of big story visible for miles around plus helicopters plus people coming home from work and everyone seeing it.

  • LW April 30, 2015 (5:27 pm)

    What can we do to help the families affected tonight?

  • Sadie April 30, 2015 (5:32 pm)

    A ambulance just came by… Uh oh

  • Jonathan April 30, 2015 (5:32 pm)

    “Firefighters have had some water trouble.” Would that explain the suddenly cloudy water we’re having in faucets? 46th and Raymond.

    Glad to hear everyone is safe and thanks for the always outstanding coverage, WSB.

  • Salt Spray April 30, 2015 (5:32 pm)

    There’s been at least one crash from people watching the helicopters rather than where they’re going, and adding to the traffic mess. Don’t rubberneck…get the details from the Blog!

  • LW April 30, 2015 (5:33 pm)

    Is there anything we can do to help the families tonight?

  • WestSeattlePride April 30, 2015 (5:33 pm)

    Please keep us posted if you hear about items that the homeowners need quickly or a donation site for longer term donations. Stay safe response team!

  • Mark J. April 30, 2015 (5:34 pm)

    This was just on the local news (KVOA) here in Tucson, AZ.

  • Devin Burnett April 30, 2015 (5:34 pm)

    View from downtown

  • casey April 30, 2015 (5:36 pm)

    ash falling up on 39th and othello st

  • Alex April 30, 2015 (5:36 pm)

    Any word on how it started?

  • Jeremiah April 30, 2015 (5:36 pm)

    I live at 39th and Orchard. Quite a bit of ash and burnt material is floating down to the ground here. I could easily see this stuff starting other fires if it lands on dry tinder. Keep your eyes open if you live in the area!!


  • Helpermonkey April 30, 2015 (5:36 pm)

    Avoid California Ave SW from junction south. Is a parking lot.

    • WSB April 30, 2015 (5:37 pm)

      No, there is no word on how it started. This is not your standard house fire – this is three homes that were “well involved” in flames – investigators won’t be able to get in for a while.

  • DRW April 30, 2015 (5:37 pm)

    I was walking out of Thriftway and saw the smoke. At first I thought it was just the next block over. It was actually more like 5 blocks! Got there as the first trucks were arriving. Saw the WSB team getting there at the same time. I seriously hope no one is injured or worse. It looked pretty bad. Thank you SFD and SPD!

  • Deb Barker April 30, 2015 (5:38 pm)

    Just talked to a friend who lives in the Pelly Place neighborhood and she said that the fire is above them. They are OK at their house. This narrow street winds way from Fauntleroy to Murray Avenue. Seems that the majority of response vehicles are taking Graham and 48th to the fire area.

    • WSB April 30, 2015 (5:40 pm)

      Deb – Thanks for that update. DRW – we had someone there pretty quick because they were in Morgan Junction distributing Garage Sale Day posters, believe it or not. Regarding how to help the victims – We’ll check on whether the Red Cross is responding; that’s usually what happens if fire victims don’t have someplace to go, etc.

  • Betsy April 30, 2015 (5:39 pm)

    Is it possible we smell smoke down in Delridge? We are available to help as needed…so sad :(

  • trickycoolj April 30, 2015 (5:40 pm)

    The smoke has drifted all the way to Boeing Field by the South Park Bridge

  • BBQ Tofu April 30, 2015 (5:40 pm)

    Dang, that is a serious smoke cloud. Hope everyone made it out okay.

  • Alki resident April 30, 2015 (5:40 pm)

    This breaks my heart to hear now three homes are on fire. Im so sorry. Please let the community know if anything is needed to get by.

  • justducky April 30, 2015 (5:42 pm)

    Our friends are one of the victims…one is on the way home, we are offering assistance. They have a small child. They do have family in the area as well-thankfully.

  • Dick Murray April 30, 2015 (5:42 pm)

    Emotionally wretching seeing poor woman crying about her dog being inside.

  • C friis April 30, 2015 (5:43 pm)

    If anyone knows how we can help these families – please post! I bet a lot of people will lend them a hand

    • WSB April 30, 2015 (5:48 pm)

      Yes, we will. We have two crews there but it will take a while to sort this out and it is still an ACTIVE firefight after an hour.

    • WSB April 30, 2015 (5:50 pm)

      I just checked with our crew again and they don’t even know where the fire survivors are – because this is an active, big, smoky, flaming fire scene, they can’t get close. This is not like the “usual” fire call where there are minutes of a big firefight, it’s out, then everyone gets in closer. Roofs are in danger of collapsing, etc.
      Also, our crew was with SFD’s PIO Moore when I talked to them by phone just a minute ago. They haven’t even called the Red Cross yet, this is too fresh. So please hold the questions about how to help and we’ll see what we can find out when this calms a bit.
      Regarding the water, I’m checking on that – water pressure would NOT be affected in Pelly Place (this area) by someone, say, in Admiral. We learned a lot about water pressure and hydrants back after the Arbor Heights fire trouble a couple years ago. Everything is OK with the firefighters’ water supply right now as of last check. – Tracy

  • kumalavula April 30, 2015 (5:45 pm)

    i tried to post earlier but it kept failing. clearly trucks came from outside of ws to battle this blaze in the early stages and had a tough time getting down either calif headed southbound or fauntleroy from the bridge. i was at the morgan junction minutes after it started and saw at least 6 trucks and 3 ladders go through the intersection, all with 5pm traffic and people trying to reach the ferry lines. i’m hoping that besides people no animals were affected/injured.
    it’s so tough to watch this happen in our community and feel helpless but one thing we can all do is get out of the way of the emergency response crews and let them get to where they need to be going and f-a-s-t!

  • Linda April 30, 2015 (5:49 pm)

    @jonathan: very likely your water issue is related. Heard on the news they are asking West Seattle residents to avoid using water if they can, they’re having major issues with water pressure to fight this fire.

  • Sara April 30, 2015 (6:00 pm)

    The plume of smoke was visible all the way from the 520 I-5 interchange. I’m still hearing a lot of sirens right by the west Seattle bridge.

    • WSB April 30, 2015 (6:00 pm)

      They called for a couple more units – might be that. However, I see there’s also some kind of crash on the eastbound West Seattle Bridge, so that’s more likely.

    • WSB April 30, 2015 (6:06 pm)

      An update – whatever news organization said that about not using water was NOT accurate – no such request has been made or needed, according to SFD – we just asked. Just to clarify that. That doesn’t mean there’s not an effect on water such as the person with cloudy (?) water upthread – but that’s not a shortage, just possibly the same thing that happens when hydrants are cleaned out etc. – TR

  • Julia April 30, 2015 (6:04 pm)

    Anyone know which news helicopter is circling?

  • DanielleC April 30, 2015 (6:05 pm)

    Justducky, what age is the little one? I could pull together some toddler boys clothes, toys, and have an extra toddler car seat to donate if needed.

  • Jonathan April 30, 2015 (6:08 pm)

    @Linda Thanks for news. Will do.

    @WSB Thanks, Tracy. Will watch for all updates on this.

  • Ben Rupp April 30, 2015 (6:09 pm)

    the helicopter circling is shared by KING and KOMO.

  • Alki resident April 30, 2015 (6:09 pm)

    We have a Facebook page for West Seattle community, its called West Seattle Giving Tree. Once things settle down, we will be able to get a better idea of what the kids and adults need for clothing,shoes etc. and donate to them.

  • Laura April 30, 2015 (6:10 pm)

    Thanks as always for your outstanding, timely coverage! As more & more sirens raced past, I thought to myself, ‘better check the WSB; they’ll know what’s happening.’ And you did not disappoint! Looking forward to hearing how fire could’ve gotten so big so quickly & how we can best support the fire victims.

  • Lisa April 30, 2015 (6:13 pm)

    KIRO just showed some overhead footage. It looks like the fire is more under control – less flames, more smoke. It also looks like it was a huge fire!

  • Sarah April 30, 2015 (6:13 pm)

    Terrifying news, I’m so sorry for these families. Thank you for the tremendous coverage, Tracy. I’m so grateful to live in West Seattle where we have your watchful eye during times like this.

  • Ca April 30, 2015 (6:18 pm)

    My house is smokey and neighborhood looks foggy. Glad everyone got out a dog did die in the house fire. Please keep up posted on helping these families

  • justducky April 30, 2015 (6:20 pm)

    DanielleC-I believe he is 4 now…I don’t want to say much now as I just found out, and I know they are in shock. She is most likely the same one crying about her dog.

    • WSB April 30, 2015 (6:23 pm)

      Justducky, please offer your friends our condolences. We’ll stand by to help get the word out if there is anything needed – obviously we’ll monitor the comments but also editor@westseattleblog.com – but first, I’m sure what they need most is hugs … TR

  • Linda April 30, 2015 (6:26 pm)

    Thanks for the update on the water situation, don’t recall which station had the news about the water as we were channel surfing.

  • AG April 30, 2015 (6:28 pm)

    Smoke thick enough to make us cough in Westwood area. It’s thick enough from 31st we thought the fire was on 34th or 35th! I’m so sorry to all who have lost homes. Praying all people and pets got out safely.

  • AHC April 30, 2015 (6:37 pm)

    What a tragedy – glad everyone is safe. Sorry to hear about their dog. I can’t imagine how they are feeling. I’d anyone gets word if the families need anything please post instructions how to get to them

  • R0b0 April 30, 2015 (6:38 pm)

    I was traveling eastbound on the bridge and couldn’t believe how many cars were not getting out of the way of the fire trucks! Lights sirens and horns blasting and still cars weren’t getting out of the way. What’s wrong with these people!?

    Sad to read that it’s all too common. http://mynorthwest.com/1024/2750604/Seattle-drivers-cant-seem-to-handle-themselves-around-emergency-vehicles

  • Carole Strom April 30, 2015 (6:38 pm)

    It is time for West Seattle residents/taxpayers to insist upon adequate water pressure to fight these fires. We watched a home burn to the ground across from Lincoln Park last month and now three families have lost their homes. An entire home should NOT burn to the ground and get so hot as to catch homes in either side on fire. What is wrong with our water pressure and how do we fix it? West Seattle is my home; you are my friends. Can’t watch another fire…

  • Marianne April 30, 2015 (6:38 pm)

    I have plenty of girl clothes and toys. clothes are sizes 6-8. Please let us know if we can help in any way.

  • JayDee April 30, 2015 (6:40 pm)

    I was in Pioneer Square @ 4:50 and heard the sirens and wondered what was up since they went south on 4th, 1st, then the Viaduct. When I got to the Water Taxi the plume was visible. Very unusual to have 3 homes involved. Best Wishes to all.

  • Chris April 30, 2015 (6:44 pm)

    I just watched a half dozen or more fire vehicles from Normandy Park and Renton Fire Departments traveling westbound on Roxbury. Is that for this fire or is there another one?

  • Bill April 30, 2015 (6:45 pm)

    Wow…. Renton fire dept. is now heading north on Fauntleroy past the ferry terminal

  • Julia April 30, 2015 (6:46 pm)

    More sirens heading north from the ferry dock. Connected?

    • WSB April 30, 2015 (6:52 pm)

      I just added that to the story. We’ve confirmed mutual aid is coming as a backup, from jurisdictions to the south. Should have a photo shortly.

  • Mike & Maggie April 30, 2015 (7:11 pm)

    We live close by in the neighborhood and have spare sheets, blankets, towels and other emergency supplies to offer, plus a lending hand, if needed…

  • DanielleC April 30, 2015 (7:15 pm)

    I have some 4t boys clothes too, and toys/stuffed animals.
    My email is danicowles@gmail.com if needed.
    Prayers to your friends and their neighbors.

  • Ncurry April 30, 2015 (7:22 pm)

    I saw fire trucks and ambulances from Tukwila, Burien, Renton, Sea-Tac and Normandy Park.

  • Lindsay B April 30, 2015 (7:26 pm)

    WSB – When possible, pls advise how community can assist these 3 families. Would love to contribute.

    • WSB April 30, 2015 (7:32 pm)

      When we hear, we will. As mentioned upthread and in the story, there just isn’t anything on that yet – we even talked to someone from the Red Cross. We’re monitoring as many channels as possible. And if something shows up in a closed channel (there are so many nonpublic social-media groups now), I hope someone will e-mail us at editor@westseattleblog.com … TR

  • Aaron April 30, 2015 (7:31 pm)

    Seattle Fire requested a “Task Force” from Zone-3 (South King County) to assist. This is fairly common for multiple alarm fires. In this case, units from the various cities in south King County make up the task force and respond to the scene to help.

    A Task Force is made up of 3-4 Engines, 1 Ladder Truck, 1 Aid Unit, 2 Battalion Chiefs, 1 Medic Unit and 1 MSO (Medical Services Officer).

  • Aaron April 30, 2015 (7:43 pm)

    Yep, “TF1,” that’s it.

  • InkyGirl April 30, 2015 (7:50 pm)

    Question: Were the three houses next to one another? I was assuming they were until someone told me they were not and that made fighting the fires even more difficult.

    To the person who wrote about the Facebook page, can you please post a link?

    It took my husband so long to get home. He told me vehicles were NOT moving over for the emergency vehicles to get through until the last minute, causing the emergency vehicles to take much longer to get thru.

    We are so very sorry for these families and their loss. Hugging everyone extra tonight!

  • justducky April 30, 2015 (7:52 pm)

    Thank-you all for your generous offerings and support. We have not heard from them since we found out, but did ask that they call if they need anything-I understand it can be hard to ask for help. I really just want to give them a hug.

    They have family in the area, so I am assuming they are with them now.

  • Adam April 30, 2015 (7:52 pm)

    Great thanks to Seattle Fire Deptartment.

  • Jennifer April 30, 2015 (7:57 pm)

    I am close with one of the families, unfortunately out of town to help. Toddler boys clothes/ toys are needed. All sheets, towels blankets etc. Personal care products, food water. Dog food would be a huge help! Anything you have extra or could spare, please go donate to the nearest red cross. Prayers to all.

    • WSB April 30, 2015 (8:39 pm)

      Jennifer – The Red Cross tends to ask for money donations rather than items – so if there’s a better drop spot, please let us know.
      To the person upthread who said somebody mentioned the homes were not next to each other – that’s not true; they are. I verified this both with our crew who was at the fire (they arrived even before the firefighters, having been on an errand blocks away, then seeing the smoke) and with a nearby resident. While the fire log cites 6733, SFD told us the other houses involved were on each side of that house, 6729 and 6737.

  • Antoinette April 30, 2015 (8:00 pm)

    The “Buy Nothing – West Seattle (North)” group is talking about how we can help the families during this time. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to the group or myself. Everyone wants to help out the families. This is reason #484 why I love WS. People care and give!


  • D-Mom April 30, 2015 (8:01 pm)

    Fauntleroy was still closed between California and Myrtle at 7:30 when we passed by. I’m so sorry to see this. There have been way too many fires in West Seattle in the 8 years that I’ve lived here.

    • WSB April 30, 2015 (8:21 pm)

      Still closed, I believe that’s because of the need to run up to a hydrant on Fauntleroy. We’re continuing to monitor closely and will update when anything changes – road closure, investigation, victims’ status …

  • outrageous April 30, 2015 (8:11 pm)

    How is it that in this day and age we are suffering from water pressure with a fire? Typical government boondoggle.

  • SFDTraining April 30, 2015 (8:48 pm)

    While everyone’s attention is still on this I would like to request any pictures and/or video from today. The SFD Training Division learns a lot from reviewing pictures and video and it helps to recreate the timeline. Please contact me at
    michael.daigle(at)seattle(DOT)gov if you have anything you are willing to share. Thank you

    • WSB April 30, 2015 (9:23 pm)

      We are back at the scene. Tape is coming down and Fauntleroy will reopen soon, police say. We will stay here until it does.

      • WSB April 30, 2015 (9:31 pm)

        Update: Open.

  • maylor April 30, 2015 (9:40 pm)

    This street is tight and twisty to drive a small sedan let alone a fire truck. Seattle has more than a few streets that are too narrow for proper emergency vehicle access and with too few hydrants. Judging from the “issues with water” and the pictures in this post, the problem may not be pressure per se, but the fact that the nearest hydrant was too far away and they couldn’t get a truck close enough to the scene. How many such streets in West Seattle are cut into hillsides and gullies that could a fire truck easily navigate and have access to a hydrant? Anecdotally the SFD has raised this issue with the city but the city prefers to collect fees on permitting/building rather than deal with the issue.

  • ahc April 30, 2015 (9:43 pm)

    Fauntleroy is open

    • WSB April 30, 2015 (9:51 pm)

      Yup, we were there! P.S. If anybody is hearing the helicopter – it’s NOT for the fire – possible burglary call right nearby. Separate item to come.

  • ScubaFrog April 30, 2015 (9:50 pm)

    If anyone knows of a gofundme account or something similar for the victims – please post it?

    So glad everyone is ok. So sad that homes were lost.

  • WSIslander April 30, 2015 (10:20 pm)

    I wanted to thank WSB and the commenters for their prompt and accurate accounts of the events. My family lives less than a block away from the fire and, because of this site, I was able to help my family successfully vacate our home and keep them well informed of the situation even though I was unable to be with them.

  • Angie April 30, 2015 (10:43 pm)

    Anyone know what had caused the fire? So sorry for the family who had lost their home today and grateful we have such a loving community.

    • WSB April 30, 2015 (11:00 pm)

      SFD has not announced its ruling on the cause. I don’t even know if it’s cooled down enough for an investigator to actually go in – also a safety factor – SFD’s public information officer usually announces the cause via Twitter and we’re watching but you can watch too: http://twitter.com/seattlefire

  • Russ W. April 30, 2015 (10:54 pm)

    Our tap water in 6000 block of 46th SW is slightly brown. Anyone else seeing same? I assume it’s related to water used to fight fire

  • bolo April 30, 2015 (10:55 pm)

    Yes the road there is narrow and twisty, quite a challenge for the firetrucks, with few hydrants.

    They are still there at 10:50 pm, spraying the houses so the residual heat should not reignite another fire again.

  • fauntleroyfairy April 30, 2015 (11:02 pm)

    Please check fire hydrants near your home!

    We found out last year that the city has color coded them for a reason. SILVER: best water pressure, never a problem. GREEN: reliable, but not as good as silver. YELLOW: could be a problem getting water or decent pressure to effectively fight a fire. RED: useless, do not use!

    It is wise to be aware of where they located too in proximity to your home. The fire department has admitted they don’t always know exactly where they are. A fire doubles every minute so the more you know about keeping your home safe, the better off you’ll be.

    Bless these families. I am so sorry for their loss.

  • ltfd April 30, 2015 (11:33 pm)

    As “maylor” suggests, the problem was distance to the nearest hydrant, rather than city water main pressure/flow- as in the previous Arbor Heights fire.

    As distance increases, and as needed water flow increases, friction loss occurs in both pipes and fire hose. A large fireflow was required during this incident (more than one supply hose was needed). The nearest hydrants were uphill, across Fauntleroy, or west to 48th/Holly, or south on Murray Ave SW- all approximately the same distance from the fire.

    Once the first group of arriving Engines blocks the roadway with a large diameter hose/supply line, it blocks later arriving units from easily laying additional supply hose by driving down the street- which would help overcome the water supply/pressure/flow problems mentioned.

    Unfortunately, at a rapidly progressing incident such as this one, there is a trade-off between having arriving personnel search homes and deploy handlines to protect houses, versus the slower and laborious task of manually deploying large diameter supply line over several blocks. Eventually, additional water supply hose was put in place.

  • FireDude April 30, 2015 (11:36 pm)

    The hydrant colors listed above are not accurate for Seattle. All Seattle hydrants used to be painted dark green and the bonnet (top) of the hydrant would be painted a different color if the pressure were low (yellow for low and red for very low). Some people did not realize the colors were significant and would paint/decorate them.

    Dark green hydrants can be difficult to locate (particularly at night and adjacent to foliage) so all hydrants are now yellow to make them more visible. If a hydrant can’t deliver at least 500 gallons per minute, Seattle Public Utilities will install a red reflective ring on it. An inoperative hydrant will have a white reflective ring installed.

    There may some green hydrants out there that have not yet been repainted.

  • tk April 30, 2015 (11:38 pm)

    Well, how about the owner of the first home? What do they have to say about it?

    What a shame! So many people out of house and home tonight. I suffered a house fire three days before christmas once. My insurance only covered damage to the home and nothing else. It was pretty lame.

  • justducky May 1, 2015 (2:43 am)

    @firedude I was informed by a friend’s brother (a firefighter) that the random blue reflectors in the middle of the street are markers for hydrants (at least on the eastside) do they not do that here?
    I know turtles/buttons are not regularly replaced because the snowplows pop them off the road…but the amount of snow we get here, you’d think they would replace them anyway.

    @tk I doubt the owner of the first home wants to speak with the media at this point, that was a devistating fire. They are a lovely family, really good people.

  • ca May 1, 2015 (6:44 am)

    Such a tragedy, @Jennifer I know the community is waiting to hear what the families need, items/money. Please keep us posted.

  • mer May 1, 2015 (6:52 am)

    My heart is breaking for all involved.

  • LisaMarieatShanti May 1, 2015 (7:48 am)

    Please would like to know how I can help. Gather supplies..etc. Thank You

    • WSB May 1, 2015 (8:03 am)

      Still have not heard of any official effort but the day is young. One public Facebook page that local community members formed last year to raise money for Snohomish Co. mudslide victims has posted messages that it’s regrouping around this situation, no details yet. We just went back over to the neighborhood; investigators are still there doing their work. – TR

  • Another Mer May 1, 2015 (7:52 am)

    We accidentally overlooked replacing a few smoke alarm batteries in our house lately (took them out because they were beeping and never made it to the store to get new ones), and this has been a reminder to make it a priority. Just thought it might be worth sharing here too – perhaps this is a good reminder for all of us following this post to check on our smoke alarms and refresh the batteries. Sending love and compassion to the affected families!

  • Rhonda Porter May 1, 2015 (8:04 am)

    I have a twin captains bed that I was going to sell at the garage sale… I would be happy to give it to one of families who lost their home in yesterday’s fire.

    I’m wondering if there’s a way we could organize a web page or FB page with items we have available to give and/or items the families need?

  • Aimeeab May 1, 2015 (8:10 am)

    Happy to help secure donations as well, there are lots of Arbor Heights families and West Seattle Baseball families I’m sure would do so as well. Just need some info on needs and a drop off location and we can rally the troops!

  • fauntleroyfairy May 1, 2015 (8:21 am)

    @FireDude – What I posted is 100% true. Came directly from firefighters. In fact, there are several areas of WS that they call “dead zones” because they will never be able to get enough pressure to a given hydrant. Old pipes are part of the problem, but the city doesn’t care to fix it.

    Why wouldn’t you want to help create awareness and possibly save a home instead of trying to prove someone wrong?

    • WSB May 1, 2015 (8:56 am)

      This is the most recent hydrant information we published, almost two years ago, showing a map of the areas that at least as of then still had 500-gallon-per-minute hydrants, and mentioning the red rings:
      From the map, it looks like a lower-flow hydrant might be in this general area. In no uncertain terms, SFD stated at the time that all the remaining “low-flow” hydrants had red rings, and that every home in the city is now within 1,000 feet of a 1,000-gallons-per-minute hydrant, which is the minimum standard. You might recall a major round of updating in Arbor Heights after the infamous 2011 fire – the lines as well as the hydrants. – TR
      PS – The city website explains how to find out how far it is to the nearest hydrant to your house. I tried it and didn’t find it very helpful – we know where “our” hydrants are, anyway – but it does list a distance.

  • Dianne May 1, 2015 (9:03 am)

    My heart goes out to all the people in West Seattle who lost their homes yesterday in that horrific fire, I’m grateful no people or pets were injured physically, but it’s going to take a long time to heal emotionally. Send them powerful good energy and prayers, see in your mind how they will rebuild not what was destroyed, that already happened!

  • -Other-FireDude- May 1, 2015 (9:17 am)

    @fauntleroyfairy-What firedude said is the most accurate information. New Hydrant marking systems went into place somewhat recently. Traditionally the dead zone referred to the radio signal loss once you got over the hill past Arbor Heights (radio dead zone) later is came to mean the long response times in the southern most reaches of the city where response times were longer than 4 min (medical dead zone). If a heart attack occurred in that area a medic unit is a couple minutes further after the first engine. When seconds count minutes mean the difference between life and death. After the Arbor Heights fire people began referring to the dead zone and included the water issue in that reference (water supply dead zone). To my knowledge the water issue has been mostly mitigated by the water department along with all the other dead zone reasons. M32 is now at St.37 and the radio system got beefed up.
    Not trying to mansplain the whole thing just a different perspective from another fire dude.

  • ChefJoe May 1, 2015 (9:18 am)

    Tracy, on the drop down menu on the left there’s a button box to select Fire Hydrants from the Public Safety service group. The icons that pop up look accurate, near me.

  • Kirsten Whitsell May 1, 2015 (9:32 am)

    We have a twin bed, coffee table, ottoman, TV stand and a lamp we could give.

  • Carol May 1, 2015 (9:33 am)

    I went to link on fire hydrants (thanks WSB) and was only able to find out that the nearest hydrant was .015 miles away. I will have to go out and look, I guess.
    Directions found at link posted by WSB are a bit confusing (not WSB fault, but city website). You want to go to My Neighborhood Map (at bottom right of city website) and I never figured out what the instructions meant about going to zoom level 6.

  • j May 1, 2015 (9:33 am)

    What affect will the thousands of new units in the triangle area have on water pressure? Seems like it will only be getting worse.

  • Community Member May 1, 2015 (9:46 am)

    @ fauntleroyfairy – water pressure and water volume are not the same thing. Water pressure is what you get when you put your thumb over the end of a hose – useful for making the water spray a long ways, but totally irrelevant for how fast the hose will fill a bucket.

    @ justducky – yes, that’s true. Blue reflectors locate the hydrants AND show which side of the road the hydrant is on.

    I might guess that fighting fires in three houses, firefighters would be using triple the ordinary fire-fighting volume. That’s just a guess, though.
    The city keeps hydrant data somewhere. A few years ago we replaced a pressure reduction valve in our house, and key data was the pressure at the hydrant across the street. I don’t remember how we (or our plumber?) found the pressure data, but it helped substantiate our pressure measurements.

  • Trileigh May 1, 2015 (9:51 am)

    Later last night, we watched a full-size fire engine make one of those hairpin turns heading down the road. We were so impressed that they made it in one turn, without having to back up. Those guys — and gals — are just great.

  • Community Member May 1, 2015 (9:54 am)

    Ah, I did find an article relating GPM to how much material is burning:

  • Fire Safety May 1, 2015 (10:01 am)

    Amidst all this discussion of colored hydrants, narrow streets, distance from hydrants, I would add a bit more, after first offering sincere condolences to those who suffered such devastating losses.

    The distance and availability to a fire hydrant is often a consideration in mortgages and the required homeowners insurance applications

    Codes adopted by Seattle DPD over the decades have greatly increased fire safety.

    Older homes are ‘grandfathered’ to whatever code (if any) existed when they were constructed. Owners are encouraged to upgrade but fire safety all too often falls behind on the upgrades to-do list.

    Besides all of the common construction practices and materials such as fire-blocking framing and required drywall, codes now require new construction to install residential sprinkler systems in some hydrant-challenged addresses.

  • Jenny May 1, 2015 (10:24 am)

    I am happy to donate clothing, toiletries, etc. and dog/cat food. Can someone post the count of women/men/children and pets so we can start collecting donations?

  • Maria Esztergalyos May 1, 2015 (10:50 am)

    Is there a link to the West Seattle a Giving Tree? Please let us know how to help

  • Grace May 1, 2015 (11:03 am)

    There is a rummage sale happening At St.John’s Church near WS high school right now. Lots of blankets and house wears. Maybe they would donate the unsold items to the fire victims? Truly, the items are very inexpensive if someone had the means to purchase/store. Just a thought. I know not everyone has extra house wears to donate.

  • Wsrez May 1, 2015 (11:06 am)

    Hopefully this can help while we are waiting for another avenue of assistance to become available.

    My toddler attends the same daycare as one of the fire victims children and while I don’t know them personally, I can’t imagine going through something like this. We will be accepting donations for fire victims through my West Seattle business and either direct to Red Cross (if the families accept Red Cross assistance) or pay directly to families. The donations will be grouped together unless you’d like to help a particular family please specify when contacting us.

    I can accept cash, check, credit card (I will cover fees) and can be reached by text, email or phone.

    ^^^also, please put “fire donation” in email subject when contacting us. Text is ok too.

  • JL May 1, 2015 (11:30 am)

    Live just houses away from fire. The overall neighborhood was very lucky fire didn’t spread through trees. Some of us have been reporting these old pipes and pressure for years with no results. A city worker once said they could blow at any time. Also, FD is well aware of these hairpin streets, they practice driving them almost monthly. We had to ask what was up with brown house water. FD said it might be this way for a few days, dirt and rust from excess pressure from the city.

  • LS May 1, 2015 (11:37 am)

    With all of the current development going on in West Seattle at this time, this needs to be a wake up call. Fortunately no one was hurt. Contact City Council & Mayor’s office to express you concern about current public safety access due to overcrowding. Anyone who was trying to drive during yesterday’s crisis has got to be concerned as to how it will be once all the new apartments fill up and the population increases. Reportedly, emergency vehicles had difficulty reaching the site due to traffic impedance and drivers who neglected to yield. In addition, there should be no excuses for a lack of hydrants and/or water pressure availibility. This is a serious and legitimate concern!!

    • WSB May 1, 2015 (12:06 pm)

      Here is the info I have from SFD spokesperson Kyle Moore related to the water pressure – posting it here in the discussion before including it in a separate followup: “Because we had multiple hose lines running off one hydrant, we asked SPU to boost water pressure on the Fauntleroy hydrant. When we have a multi-alarm fire, it’s standard procedure for SPU to respond to monitor water pressure. An example was the Christmas Eve multi-alarm fire in the International District 2 years ago when SPU made sure we had enough water pressure to charge multiple hose lines.

      It was a long hose lay and we had 2 engines maintaining water pressure. It’s called relay pumping. Firefighters train on this type of pumping.”

  • trickycoolj May 1, 2015 (11:57 am)

    Drivers neglecting to yield reminds me of a recent situation I encountered on Morgan St just east of Neighborhood house where the street turns to Sylvan. There is no shoulder for a stretch. An emergency vehicle started barreling behind me and I knew I would just quickly make the left turn onto my street one car length in front of me, instead the small pickup truck in front of me decides to bump two wheels up the curb into the flower bed and blocked me from being able to continue forward to an actual shoulder to pull over on or turning onto my street out of the way! At this point the emergency vehicle was on it’s loudspeaker telling both of us to move but I couldn’t because the pickup was blocking both the lane and the curb. There is also a flowerbed median here so the emergency vehicle couldn’t go to the opposite side of the road around us. I was in a panic until that stupid truck moved. What do you do when you’re stuck in the road like that? I wanted to move!

  • InkyGirl May 1, 2015 (12:12 pm)

    Tracy: FYI – the link you’ve given for the crowd funding page is broken or the page has been taken down. Clicking on the link you posted takes you to a “lost page” site.

    Thank you for the tremendous coverage – especially while things were so crazy. It’s wonderful to live in your part of the city.

  • Teri Ensley May 1, 2015 (12:13 pm)

    To the families that have lost their homes–I’m am so, so sorry. Special warm thoughts to the family that lost their dog.

    You will now have to deal with your insurance companies and the ambulance chancing construction company vultures that will be contacting you. It can be a very, long, frustrating and emotional experience.

    Please feel free to contact me. I had a house fire in January 2012 and learned some very important lessons. Would be happy to share this information and a strategy for ensuring you receive what the insurance company owes you.


  • trickycoolj May 1, 2015 (12:20 pm)

    Oh that’s excellent, when you zoom in the neighborhood map to find fire hydrants there are ZERO in High Point and the map isn’t even the current neighborhood… how long ago did they re-do the street configuration in High Point?? Hope we really do have hydrants!

  • Joyce May 1, 2015 (12:22 pm)

    Does anyone know if there is a service (either via SFD or someone else) that will inspect your home for fire safety? We have smoke alarms, etc but I’m not sure they’re in the right places or if there are other measures we should take to be as prepared as possible.

    • WSB May 1, 2015 (12:24 pm)

      Update: Here is a crowdfunding site set up for another of the families, per a comment on the WSB Facebook page: http://www.gofundme.com/thvd5xw

  • Lolapop May 1, 2015 (12:32 pm)

    What a horrific thing that happened yesterday, my heart goes out to the families.
    Reading through the comments and seeing how everyone wants to help is amazing. I however want to remind everyone that wants to help that all if the “items” people are offering up may not be very helpful right now. The families that have lost everything have no where to keep all of this stuff at the moment.
    My dear friend recently lost every belonging in a house fire and the things everyone donated to her were overwhelming her while she lived in a hotel.
    Money at this point is the most helpful and down the road they will need the items everyone is wanting to donate.
    I’m truly sorry for these families losses. It’s heartbreaking.

  • ChefJoe May 1, 2015 (12:36 pm)

    Joyce, basically you set detectors so you’ll be likely to hear it while sleeping and where sound can travel up natural stairwells. They say every sleeping room, every hall outside sleeping rooms, every level of a floor, and near stairwells.

    A quick “map” of sorts is here.

    I recently bought several new smoke detectors for the homestead, where previous detectors were scarce and one-per-floor, and I did find it helpful to install some on the wall (no more than 12″ from the ceiling) so testing and changing batteries doesn’t mean getting on step ladders (or chairs, etc).

  • West Seattleite May 1, 2015 (1:00 pm)

    Any thing on what caused the fire yet?

    • WSB May 1, 2015 (1:06 pm)

      No, not as of my last check about two minutes ago.

  • WSB May 1, 2015 (2:57 pm)

    UPDATE: We have an update going with more info about water/hydrants (from both SFD and SPU) as well as donating, and whenever there’s info about the fire’s cause, we’ll add it there too. It’s at:

  • bret McGee May 1, 2015 (4:10 pm)

    One of the families that lost their home had a friend that setup a fund to help: https://www.facebook.com/lacey.nevitt/posts/10101859589240323

    • WSB May 1, 2015 (4:29 pm)

      Thanks, Bret, but that’s not visible to me so I can’t find the info. If you have a web address for the fund, please post it here, or else e-mail it to us – editor@westseattleblog.com – or you can also post it on the “posts by others” section of the WSB Facebook page – http://facebook.com/westseattleblog – thanks!

  • FireDude May 1, 2015 (4:35 pm)

    @justducky – You are correct about the blue reflective hydrant markers. In Seattle, personnel assigned to fire engines place markers in the course of the annual hydrant inspections. That being said, not enough are provided to mark every hydrant. A company may have upwards of 800 hydrants in their district but will only have 20 or so markers to place. Markers are also occasionally dislodged or paved over.

    @fauntleroyfairy – The hydrant color scheme you detailed does not apply to the City of Seattle. I have no idea about how other departments may mark/paint their hydrants. I have been a Seattle firefighter for decades. I am well acquainted with water supply issues within the city. We have never had silver hydrants during my tenure.

  • Melissa May 1, 2015 (10:50 pm)

    Here is a link to donate to one of the families who lost their home and dog in the fire: http://www.youcaring.com/emergency-fundraiser/amy-john-baker-s-fire-relief-fund/347307#.VUPNpe9mSa0.facebook

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