(9:41 PM TOPLINE: SFD on “fire watch” all night at scene of 3-alarm fire. 47 people displaced; Red Cross helping. No one was hurt. No word yet on cause)
(Added: Video contributed by next-door neighbor Seth – read his story below in 5:10 pm update – that’s the back, west-facing side of building)
2:45 PM: SFD is calling out a second alarm. This is just north of the busy Delridge/Orchard/Sylvan intersection so avoid that area TFN.
2:53 PM: Via scanner, one person is reported injured, and this is described as a “significant exterior fire on several units.” Our crew is arriving in the area and confirms “serious smoke.”
3:01 PM: The fire also is reported to be in the attic.
3:05 PM: For those asking about the helicopters, they are just TV. SFD does not have helicopters.
(WSB Instagram video – mouse over image to find and click play button)
3:15 PM: SFD is continuing to search the building. They also have called for more units.
3:27 PM: Via scanner, we hear they are calling for the Red Cross, which assists victims in situations like this – the number of units affected could be in the double digits. And we’ve confirmed this fire has now gone to 3 alarms (each “full response” group of units is one alarm, so this is roughly triple what would usually respond to a building fire).
3:43 PM: Firefighters are focusing now on “hot spots.” Meantime, as mentioned in comment discussion, this is a Seattle Housing Authority complex. The SHA website says the complex has 51 units; we’re expecting an official briefing at the scene momentarily, to find out among other things how many units are affected.
4:05 PM: More than three dozen SFD units remain on the scene – see the list here.
Just heard from our crew at the scene, after the briefing by SFD spokesperson Lt. Harold Webb. He says they have no information yet on how this started. (Added: Video of Lt. Webb’s entire briefing)
Contrary to an early report, no one has been hurt – it appears at this point that everyone got out OK. At least 20 units are damaged or destroyed – see the photo we added above, showing how much of the roof is gone in the building – so this is affecting a lot of families, and as mentioned, the Red Cross disaster response team is coming out to figure out how to help.
4:17 PM: Metro buses are being brought into the scene so that residents have someplace to go in the short run. And we’ve heard back from SHA communications director Kerry Coughlin, who says, “SHA has numerous senior property management and communications staff on the scene. We absolutely will make sure all affected residents will have housing until their units are safe and restored. We will work with the Red Cross and other community partners as needed and use emergency hotel vouchers or other resources as needed.”
5:10 PM: Some of the units are being dismissed. Please continue to avoid Delridge/Orchard TFN; Metro says Route 120 is still being rerouted. Meantime, we have added video at the top of this report, taken even before SFD arrived, shared by next-door neighbor Seth, who says, “I live next door. I saw smoke, ran around the side and saw flame and smoke and didn’t hear any alarms. I saw one cop run in the south entrance and up the stairs so I ran in the downstairs hallway to activate an alarm, which thankfully worked. I took the video right after. Pretty scary stuff. I went up the driveway to our house and grabbed our cat and car and headed out. I’m soooo grateful for SFD right now. I’m convinced they saved our house.” We are also adding, inline above, several more photos by WSB’s Patrick Sand taken during the peak of the firefight. He’ll be going back to the scene later this evening to follow up.
7:50 PM: Delridge Way has reopened.
8:14 PM: From our return to the scene – the Red Cross is there:
47 people were displaced; 35 are accepting help from the Red Cross, according to spokesperson Jennifer Blackwood, who says a temporary shelter is set up at Delridge Community Center for tonight and maybe tomorrow night. Cots were being set up there and dinner was waiting for the residents, who were getting a Metro bus ride to DCC. It was stressed again, if you want to help, please do it via the Red Cross. (Commenter McBride made that point eloquently earlier.)
We also talked with Seattle Housing Authority reps at the scene. More on that shortly.
9:41 PM: SFD remains on “fire watch” all night, meaning at least one crew will be on scene in case there’s a flareup – this is fairly standard with major fires. No word yet on the cause; the investigation continues tomorrow.
SHA told us at the scene that they also have private security to help SFD keep the scene secure. They in the meantime are working with building managers on the next step. They’ll go in to assess the damage once SFD gives them the go-ahead, possibly as soon as tomorrow. That’s also when they will start working to find SHA housing for those who don’t have family or friends to stay with; they stress that they will do their best to keep families close to the schools their children attend and to ensure people are still able to get to their jobs.
They also wanted to thank their on-site managers, SFD, and the SW Precinct police for their quick response and getting everyone out safely after the fire broke out.