FIRE FOLLOWUP: Today’s developments in aftermath of Lam Bow Apartments fire, including how to help

1:28 PM: Here’s what’s happening so far today in the aftermath of the 3-alarm fire that displaced almost 50 people at the Lam Bow Apartments at 6955 Delridge Way SW (our Tuesday afternoon-through-evening coverage is here):


*Seattle Fire remains on “fire watch” at the site, in case of hotspots. We stopped by the scene this morning and that’s when the photos in this update were taken.

*No cause announced yet, but SFD spokesperson Lt. Harold Webb tells WSB the information should be available before day’s end.


For everyone asking how to help the 47 people who are unable to return to their apartments:

*The Red Cross will have a shelter again tonight for residents who need it, at the Delridge Community Center. But a spokesperson tells us, “In terms of tangible needs, we have not heard any reports of unmet needs in the shelter.”

*They and the Seattle Housing Authority, which owns the Lam Bow, have not heard yet of organized donation drives, nor of a specific request for specific items.

*A commenter says Sanislo Elementary is organizing a food drive for two families. We’re awaiting details on that. (Today was a 2-hour-early dismissal day for Seattle Public Schools, so don’t go to the school now.) 6:24 PM UPDATE: They’re collecting items during tomorrow night’s Multicultural Potluck, as explained here.

*This afternoon at City Hall, the mayor, police chief, and SHA director will “formally recognize the heroic efforts of Seattle Police Department and Seattle Housing Authority personnel in responding to yesterday’s apartment fire.” We will be covering that separately.

More updates as we get information. For everyone who wants to help, please keep in mind that those who lost their homes and belongings will be affected for a long time, and it might take a while for “how best to help” to emerge, so be patient and keep that good energy going until we hear where best to apply it.

2:18 PM: We’re at City Hall for the aforementioned recognition event and have talked to the Seattle Housing Authority rep, Kerry Coughlin, who’s here. She said the Fire Department has just turned the damaged building – one of two that comprise the Lam Bow – to them, and they’re boarding it up; a long list of inspections and assessments is ahead. They’re also continuing to work, she confirms, on organizing a list of needs and who can coordinate donations.

3:02 PM: SHA director Andrew Lofton elaborated on that during Q&A after the ceremony. He said that they are working to identify a fiscal agent for donations, among other things, and hope to have some news on that “within 48 hours.”

6:25 PM: There’s lots of coordination going on between people who are trying to organize ways to help and we’re expecting to have a clearer picture tomorrow (Thursday).

18 Replies to "FIRE FOLLOWUP: Today's developments in aftermath of Lam Bow Apartments fire, including how to help"

  • Alki Resident September 28, 2016 (1:35 pm)

    What a horrific scene. So many lives interrupted and nothing but what they’re wearing.

  • BJ September 28, 2016 (1:46 pm)

    And perhaps that neighbor, “SeattleSeth”, should get recognized at City Hall as well, for running in and pulling an alarm when they did!

  • clark5080 September 28, 2016 (2:12 pm)

    So sure seems like this apartment may not have been up to City Code? Did the alarms actually work?

    • Mike September 28, 2016 (8:27 pm)

      no, Seth pulled the alarm.

  • J September 28, 2016 (2:25 pm)

    It was up to code the alarms where just recently tested old buildings that have been retro fitted do not require detected alarm systems only manual pull and there is no sprinkler ordinance in city of seattle.

  • Michelle September 28, 2016 (2:44 pm)

    We have an SHA home on our street that’s been vacant for nearly 60 days when the family was moved to a home that was better suited to their family size. It’s a real shame because there are so many families that are ready to move in right away. I’m not sure why SHA has been so slow in turning the property over to a new family. I hope all of these families find new homes quickly but I’m nervous given how slow SHA has been to move a new family in to the one of my street.

  • Amy September 28, 2016 (3:05 pm)

    Thank you for the update. Look forward to seeing what we can do to help.

  • Delta in WS September 28, 2016 (4:05 pm)

    The American Red Cross frequently responds to local disasters like this one. You might check with them.

    • WSB September 28, 2016 (4:14 pm)

      As reported previously … the Red Cross is already helping the fire victims – of the more than 40 people displaced, about three dozen of them are being sheltered at the Delridge Community Center, and that’s continuing tonight. I have just been there in fact and regular community-center operations/programs are suspended while the families are being taken care of here. The Red Cross can accept donations toward its operations but not items; some other organizations are working on coordination and we will likely have news on that tomorrow. – TR

  • Trickycoolj September 28, 2016 (5:52 pm)

    Scary to think The SHA homes that surround my block all have the smoke detectors beeping low battery. You can hear it echo through the streets in High Point and it has been that way for over a year . I’ve repeatedly reported it to SHA multiple times and they don’t seem to be interested. Maybe they’ll take fire safety more serious now. 

    • MsD September 28, 2016 (9:58 pm)

      If SHA won’t act on the smoke detectors, maybe a community group could get together with batteries and ladders and take care of it?  Not sure if that would create liability if something didn’t work, but it’s ridiculous that people who are living in poverty should be at huge risk because basic services aren’t being kept up with.

  • cynthia4peace September 28, 2016 (6:01 pm)

    Folks living in SHA housing can either, request, maintenance to change batteries, or, if they are able, change it themselves. 

  • Lala September 28, 2016 (6:41 pm)

    I agree with BJ – the city should recognize the neighbors (SeattleSeth) for pulling the alarm.

  • AmandaKH September 28, 2016 (6:52 pm)

    One of the residents – Theresa Hillman – has a gofundme page set up on her behalf. Heartbreaking story.  One of many I am sure.

  • Ashley September 28, 2016 (8:57 pm)

    The 24 hour fitness in westwood is doing a clothing/ anything drive because a good chunk of members are victims. 

  • Friend September 28, 2016 (11:19 pm)

    Talking with the kids who witnessed and lived through the fire, and then the adults, I heard stories of neighbors helping neighbors – putting their lives on the line for one another.  They didn’t hear any alarms, just neighbors knocking on windows & doors and running through the halls yelling fire.  I am forever grateful for our police and firefighters, but admire this small and humble community who literally saved one another.  

  • Anna September 29, 2016 (7:05 am)

    WSB, when you get info on how to help, it’d be nice to know if there are ways to help in addition to donating lost items and money. I’d be interested in giving time to help entertain little kids that are stuck living in a community center gym, or bringing other things for people to do (arts and crafts, a reading time for kids, etc.) so the residents see their neighbors showing up, person to person. Thanks for being the absolute best source of information on what’s happening with this.

  • Travis September 29, 2016 (7:49 am)

    Wow, so amazing no one was hurt. Incredible job Seattle. For what it’s worth you can hear the fire alarm coming from the building in that first video. 

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