VIDEO: 3rd fire in 5 years at ‘derelict’ South Delridge house

(WSB photo added 1:59 am)

1:40 AM: A big response is arriving at a house fire reported in the 9000 block of 16th SW [map]. The first crew on scene reports flames, according to a report radioed to dispatchers. More to come.

1:46 AM: Firefighters are working “defensively” on this – fighting it from the outside.

1:54 AM: They’re calling for two more engines. We’re waiting for our crew to verify the address on the SFD log, which also had a fire call in May 2015; there’s a redevelopment proposal for the site.

2:03 AM: We’ve verified the address. And our files also have a 2012 fire call at the same house, which is shown on Google Maps, in a photo dated a few months ago, as mostly boarded up. There’s also a history of complaints about the property’s condition.

2:22 AM: SFD’s investigator is on the way to start the work of determining how the fire started. Our crew says firefighters still aren’t sure if anyone was inside the house, which is officially listed in property records as a triplex (with a foreclosure last year), when this started.

2:50 AM: Firefighters confirm they used what’s known as their “derelict building” procedures with this. Also, residents were evacuated on both sides of the house, because of the risk the fire might spread, but that risk is now past and some are being allowed back in.

3:17 AM: We’ve added more photos, and video. Some of the SFD units have been dismissed but others will be on scene for some time.

11:20 AM: No information yet on how the fire started; SFD spokesperson Alice Kim did confirm that the building was “unoccupied at the time of our arrival.” We did go over for a daylight look at what remains of the house and have added the photo above.

ADDED MONDAY: SFD says today that its investigators were unable to figure out what started the fire, because the structure was unsafe to enter.

34 Replies to "VIDEO: 3rd fire in 5 years at 'derelict' South Delridge house"

  • Markus Dupree February 25, 2017 (2:02 am)

    I got a report from a friend who lives at 13th and Trenton that he heard a small explosion just before the fire.

    • WSB February 25, 2017 (2:12 am)

      The SFD investigator (Marshal 5) is on the way, as is the public-information officer.

  • Jojo February 25, 2017 (2:23 am)

    Did everyone in the neighboring houses make it out OK? The flames were shooting up really high. They should’ve bulldozed this house after the 1st fire, this has been a hazard waiting to happen.

    • WSB February 25, 2017 (2:27 am)

      Our crew says firefighters verified that everybody in the neighboring buildings was safe.

      • Jojo February 25, 2017 (2:36 am)

        Thank GOD everyone is OK! There are so many children that live in the houses and apartments adjacent to this abandoned property. Curious to why city of Seattle has let this twice before burned house, and known drug flop house remain standing. Will you be doing a follow up investigation? The notice to develop has been up for sometime, but did not happen fast enough to prevent this 3rd fire. I don’t think this public hazard would have been allowed to remain standing in other WS neighborhoods.

        • WSB February 25, 2017 (2:41 am)

          Yes, we’ll be checking on that with SDCI among others. Actually, regarding other neighborhoods, you’d be surprised, unfortunately. There is a house right across from Lincoln Park, for example, that had a fire sometime back and is partly tarped and boarded up and has had complaints of people camping in/outside it.

          • Ashley February 25, 2017 (7:01 am)

            I wonder about that house every time I go to Lincoln Park. I remember when that fire happened. Is there a standard protocol for rehabilitating houses after a fire? I had seen someone working on that house a long while back… but not any more. 

          • Dave February 25, 2017 (4:27 pm)

            You would think but there’s a house near 50th and Charlestown that has been half built for 12+ years and then there was the burned out Shucks which sat for a good 4 years or so.. I complained about the house and DPD said they can’t do anything unless squatters are inside. Leaving it to look like S for decades is not against any sort of code :)

  • Jonah Loeb February 25, 2017 (4:18 am)

    Do we know if anyone was in there? When the property was listed a few years ago it claimed that there was a rented unit downstairs that was unaffected by the last fire and was still in use.

    • Sigh February 25, 2017 (7:18 am)

      I can guarantee there was no renter in there (hopefully no one in there at all).

      For reference, here’s the before picture:

      • Dave February 25, 2017 (4:32 pm)

        Until the city gets serious, we will keep seeing this. There is/was a house on the corner of Barton and 36th? that was borded up and had squatters in it too, for many years. People complained for years back in the early to mid 2000s and nothing was done. I think it caught fire too. WSB covered but it has been so long I don’t recall the specifics.

  • miws February 25, 2017 (6:50 am)

    Wow, this is just a couple doors away from me, and I slept right through it!  Although, presumably,  most, if not all units would have come from the north, and maybe not even passed my place.  Also, they may have killed the sirens by then, especially considering the time of night. 

    What’s odd, is I don’t see a callout for it on the SFD 911 Log, although there are other callouts around that time. 

    But, I could tell the hydrant(s) had been used, when I turned on the kitchen faucet around 5:30 this morning, to refill my Brita pitcher. After running water a shower, though,  and then running the kitchen faucet again after that, it looks to be clear. 


    • Alki Resident February 25, 2017 (10:07 am)

      Realtime911 was the sight I look at for callouts and it was definitely there. 

      • WSB February 25, 2017 (10:13 am)

        It was. You also can still see a record of it via Twitter’s unofficial accounts that parse the fire log such as @seattle911. I have never seen a call vanish like that before so I’m asking SFD about it. (Added: Direct link to the tweet I mentioned, which you can see even if you are not a Twitter member: – We rely on the 911 log as an official record. This Twitter account is automated and not run by SFD so if we start seeing other call deletions, we’re going to have to use it for a double-check reference too!) – TR

        • WSB February 25, 2017 (11:16 am)

          And one more addition on this point – SFD’s PIO promises to look into it when everybody’s back in the office on Monday. We went back offline around 3:30, by which time the call was two hours old, and I know it was still there and active then.

          • miws February 25, 2017 (11:27 am)

            Thanks, Alki Res, and WSB! 


          • Hoku February 25, 2017 (11:42 am)

            I saw the listing on SFD’s 911 Log too. So odd. I’ve never noticed a call disappear from the SFD 911 site before.

  • Sigh February 25, 2017 (7:04 am)

    *sigh*  Again?

    My heart goes out to those who live in the apartments on both sides of this building.  We all want to badly for this property to be turned into a nice apartment complex or condos and the nuisance of having to stay vigilant over this house is getting exhausting.  There’s been a redevelopment proposal forever.  What we need is redevelopment.  

  • WSRedux February 25, 2017 (7:16 am)

    The impact & hazards of abandoned buildings is a matter the mayor & city council should address. At a minimum, if buildings are unsecured, the owners should be fined to cover the costs of the increased risk of fires, such as occurred in the case of this home on Delridge Way, as well as to cover the increased costs of police monitoring because of drug use & other illegal activities perpetrated by squatters in abandoned buildings.

    • M February 25, 2017 (9:44 am)

      Just a clarification that the house which is the subject of this report is in the 9000 block of 16th Ave SW, not on Delridge. 

  • valvashon February 25, 2017 (8:31 am)

    I, like many of you, have also wondered why these types of derelict houses and other buildings remain standing for such a long time- buildings that are in such bad shape that they will never be remodeled or rehabilitated.  It’s because the amount of property tax the county collects on a vacant lot is considerably less than one with a structure, no matter what it’s condition.  It’s for this reason that demolition permits are not granted until a construction permit is granted- to maximize the tax revenue by limiting the amount of time that a lot is vacant.  I understand the county’s need to maximize tax revenue and support this practice up to a point, but truly dangerous, derelict structures should be allowed to be demolished, either by the city or the owner.  I predict what’s left of this house on Delridge will continue to stand for another year or so.

    • Newstome February 25, 2017 (9:38 am)

      Really- demo permits are not issued in order to maintain higher tax revenue? Can you verify that- or is it more greedy city conspiracy theory?

      i could see someone not demo a property until construction permit because they want to maintain or grandfather setbacks..

    • John February 25, 2017 (9:47 am)


      Nice theory,

      but patently false.

      The assessed value of the house that was burned is currently $2,000.

      The land it is on is worth $182,000.

      • ltfd February 25, 2017 (11:38 pm)

        The City of Seattle does not normally allow demolition of an existing building to occur until permits are issued for the replacement structure . I do not know the exact reason, but a financial one wouldn’t surprise me. Safety of the neighborhood, and safety of the police & firefighters, takes a back seat to leaving these derelict buildings standing. Madness for sure, but at least the heroin addicts/neighborhood property crime specialists have a roof over their heads.

  • flimflam February 25, 2017 (8:45 am)

    this is exactly why the city should not be condoning/encouraging squatting or camping. i’m not sure I understand the laws I suppose – if its a known trouble spot and clearly nobody is living their as a renter cite the occupants as trespassing at the very least.

  • Alan February 25, 2017 (12:10 pm)

    My understanding is that the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections is toothless. As long as the entrances are secure and the roof is tarped they can’t do anything. The best example is the SE corner of 12th & Webster by Riverview Playfield. That corner has one real house and then one house and one small duplex that I understand were moved onto the property without permits. They have been there for at least 30 years. The person that owns that property owns numerous other derelict properties around West Seattle and there is nothing the city or neighbors can do about them.

    He does tend to keep most of the yards up, but the buildings are just wasting away.

    • WSB February 25, 2017 (12:13 pm)

      This page might be of interest.

    • Newstome February 25, 2017 (12:29 pm)

      Is this speculative opinion, about unrelated property (with photos, no less), appropriate?

      • Alan February 25, 2017 (1:10 pm)

        The only part of my statement that is speculative is whether or not the buildings were moved on without a permit. The fact is that there are three buildings on a single lot. I heard 30 years ago that it was done without a permit and that seemed to be supported by the city’s tagging of the building and signs that he had on them at the time telling city employees to stay off his property. He may have since arranged to have them permitted or my source could have been wrong. No permits for the property show up on KC records.

        This person owns around 20 properties in the area and most of them are vacant and deteriorating. Everyone that has met him states that he is a nice guy, though his properties certainly have a negative impact on the surrounding homes.

        • JC February 25, 2017 (1:36 pm)

          We live very close by that house up there on that hill by the park and have may times wondered about it. There is also a property down the hill not far on 16th ave sw that was a high crime of nothing but stolen cars and drugs and cops that burned down about 3 or 4 summers ago and has since became nothing but an ongoing dumping ground. I wish the city would do something. 

          • Alan February 25, 2017 (1:58 pm)

            I want to be clear that I don’t suspect anything illegal is taking place on this property other than what I believe are building violations. The person living in the one habitable (original) house seems to keep a close eye on the property. My point was only that the DCI seems to have little ability to correct a problem.

        • STEPHEN SESTRICH February 25, 2017 (8:06 pm)

          A property hoarder. :( There ought to be a law.

  • DRW February 25, 2017 (2:31 pm)

    Drove by this morning. What a great job by SFD. 2 apartment buildings so close weren’t affected at all as far as I could see. Remember, when your in the local grocery store and see your neighborhood firefighters stocking up on groceries. They are going to be the people saving YOU from whatever trouble you might be in. Car crash, fire, medical emergency, etc. They really are heros.

  • AMD February 27, 2017 (11:40 am)

    Fire Department blog about the fire.  Cause unknown.

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