UPDATE: Fire damages century-old Highland Park Improvement Club

(Photo from commenter Bayuh)

1:37 AM: Big Seattle Fire callout to the 1100 block of SW Holden. Avoid the area. Updates to come.

1:41 AM: The fire is reported (corrected) under control, but not out.

1:52 AM: Firefighters say there’s still fire in the attic. The address SFD has logged for the incident is Highland Park Improvement Club. Our photographer is on the way there to verify.

(Added: WSB photos from here down)

2:13 AM: A commenter confirms that the fire is at HPIC, a century-old community-owned-and-operated facility. … They’re down to a few hot spots.

2:26 AM: Our crew is back (after communications challenges at the scene) and also confirms it’s HPIC. SFD’s investigator was on the way to try to figure out how this started. The building had been undergoing renovations – just last month, we reported both on that donation/grant-funded work and the community services that HPIC has provided during the pandemic.

2:46 AM: More units are being dismissed from the scene, but about half a dozen remain. We’ll be seeking out HPIC leadership later this morning to follow up on the extent of the damage.

10:56 AM: The cleanup has begun. Here are photos from Highland Park photographer/artist Dina Johnson – first, the stage area, that’s seen many performances and presentations:

More of the interior:

And the exterior:

Badly needed roofing work had just been completed, HPIC board members told us this morning. They’re still dealing with the shock of the fire so no details yet on the best way you can help; SFD was still investigating the cause at last report. We’ll continue following up.

2:29 PM: SFD says its investigator has ruled the fire’s cause “undetermined.”

30 Replies to "UPDATE: Fire damages century-old Highland Park Improvement Club"

  • Kevin June 25, 2021 (1:41 am)

    Dang, hope things are alright. Seems pretty serious with how many firetrucks are heading there 😳

  • Ada June 25, 2021 (1:41 am)

    Is it in the Highland Park improvement club?

    • WSB June 25, 2021 (1:47 am)

      That is the logged address but logged addresses aren’t always accurate. It’s hard to tell from the description of the building in radio exchanges; our photographer is on the way over.

  • Bayuh June 25, 2021 (2:00 am)

    It was the improvement Club luckily no other houses caught on fire 

  • Yma June 25, 2021 (2:04 am)

    Thank you – WSB!I’m highly sensitive to the smell of smoke & woke up sometime around 1:30. I got that whiff & went checking around the house/looking outside & telling myself it was nothing.Here’s hoping nobody is hurt.

  • LyndaB June 25, 2021 (7:32 am)

    I’m glad no one was hurt but I’m so sad for the HPIC community this happened.  But as I learned from their 100 yr birthday, they are resilient.  

  • Beanie June 25, 2021 (7:46 am)

    How tragic :( I hope the damage isn’t extensive.

  • Melissa June 25, 2021 (7:57 am)

    This is heartbreaking. So much work and love has gone into that building. And so many many programs have operated out of it. It’s going to be hard to rebuild, but we’ll pitch in.

  • AMD June 25, 2021 (8:12 am)

    Oh, no!  This is the last thing they need.  Glad no one was hurt…

  • Bean June 25, 2021 (8:18 am)

    This is so sad!  But the neighborhood seems so strong and resilient.  Hopefully their insurance will provide for a new building.

  • Sarah Airhart June 25, 2021 (8:47 am)

    That’s devastating-I am so sad to see this :(

  • Marcee June 25, 2021 (8:53 am)

    That makes me so sad. But if we know this place, they’ll rebuild. All of those meals that they serve the community during these COVID times, have just indispensable. Good luck, HPIC! And I’ll contribute when the time comes!

  • Diane L. Fields June 25, 2021 (8:58 am)

    So very sad about this.  A great community group that was making strides forward. 

  • JERIO June 25, 2021 (10:03 am)

    Ready to help when you need it! Ready to donate when it’s time! Please let us know what and when you are able to start the cleanup and any other way we can support HPIC! Lots of people have benefitted from and LOVE all the good that lives in that spot! Lots of us are here for you!

  • Lynne June 25, 2021 (11:58 am)

    Appreciate the great reporting. Thanks, WSB. 

  • DM June 25, 2021 (12:26 pm)

    It’s so incredibly sad and heart breaking.    As someone wrote previously, please let us know what we can do and when we can do it to help restore our beloved Highland Park Improvement Club…

    • WSB June 25, 2021 (12:48 pm)

      When we were back there this morning, they were just shellshocked. So we’ll be checking back later.

  • HPE family June 25, 2021 (12:51 pm)

    Woke up to this devastating news our family is struggling with the shock…countless volunteer hours during this remodel. To all the volunteers and supporters were are grieving this loss along side you. We are a strong community. 

  • KT June 25, 2021 (1:08 pm)

    Hopefully they have good insurance and can rebuild.  And have a fundraiser for whatever deductible they have.

  • Morealex June 25, 2021 (1:37 pm)

    HPIC will rise again!  The people of the HPIC are the HPIC.  Nothing can damage that.  We were just at the open house they had some weeks backs, toured the areas under renovation.  These Highland Parkers truly invest themselves in our neighborhood, and in their neighbors. We know one of the neighborhood vols who has been very involved with the renovation, and met many of the others.  Heartbroken for him and everyone who has put blood, sweat, and tears (and immeasurable amounts of TLC) into the project. And counting blessings no one was inside or physically injured.  It will take time, but we will bring it back better.

  • E June 25, 2021 (3:18 pm)

    Heartbreaking is the word for it. I too will donate when the call goes out to rebuild. What a great community organization.

  • Deborah Faye Lawrence June 25, 2021 (4:08 pm)

    So worry to learn of this grave misfortune! We have enjoyed so many activities at HPIC over the last 20 years, so will plan on pitching in to help with repair and rebuilding! 

  • Michele June 25, 2021 (5:37 pm)

    You can go to the HPIC website to donate, just look for the donate linkhttps://hpic1919.org/

    • hpicrocks June 26, 2021 (1:53 pm)

      Thank you, Michele. I just donated.

  • LisaS June 25, 2021 (7:01 pm)

    The best way to help is to donate whatever you can:


  • Delridge Resident June 26, 2021 (8:45 am)

    Heartbroken to see this but we will rebuild!! With warm weather approaching, outdoor Corner Bars could be a fun option!

  • Don Brubeck June 26, 2021 (8:31 pm)

    So sorry to see this. That building is a true community center, cared for with lots of labor and donations from the community.

  • joel June 29, 2021 (8:35 am)

    who owns the HP Improvement Club building?

  • Cherokee Badass (Rebekah) June 29, 2021 (7:02 pm)

    I just want everyone to know that as a Native American who is extremely progressive in limousine liberal Seattle (meaning fake liberals and progressives) that there were two women who were so kind to me and heard out my grief and pain over losing family over PTSD and dealing with maskless Trump zombies during COVID to save my life as someone with three high risk conditions, and how classless, passive aggressive, micro and macro-aggressive and discriminatory Seattle has been to me as someone who walked across the country until my feet bled into the ground in 1992, and an activist for 32 years and as a National Bernie Delegate…they gave me food for a week and listened to me with compassion. I have been CRUCIFIED IN THIS CITY FOR BEING COLORFUL, OUTSPOKEN AND NATIVE, AND TO EXPERIENCE PEOPLE LIKE THIS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 14 YEARS REALLY AFFECTED ME DEEPLY. And so for me, to feel “seen” as a person and then to have these amazing women being so good to me….and then to hear about the fire…it breaks my heart.& I am poor and unemployed, but if I had ANY MONEY to help them, I would give them money and help them. I love them and if they are reading this, just know I love you as people and will never forget how kind you were to me in the darkest of times.

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