READER REPORT: Fire at Longfellow P-Patch shed


Thanks to Liz for the photos and report on a fire at the Longfellow Creek P-Patch, just east of Chief Sealth International High School. She emailed to say, “I first noticed something going on when driving east on Thistle St. around 2:30 pm. There were fire trucks and an ambulance parked on the north side of the road with lights flashing but couldn’t stop to investigate further. Then around 4pm I walked my dog through the P-Patch and took the attached photos of the damage.”

We checked with Seattle Fire, which could only tell us that a shed was damaged, and that no injuries were reported. Our later check of this week’s SFD dispatch logs shows this was the fourth day in a row that they were dispatched to that area – Thursday’s call around 4 pm was classified as an “encampment fire,” while the Wednesday response around 11:30 am was labeled a “shed fire,” and Tuesday’s response just before noon was not logged with a specific type of fire. Like other P-Patches, this one is tended by volunteers.

13 Replies to "READER REPORT: Fire at Longfellow P-Patch shed"

  • Auntie March 11, 2022 (8:53 pm)

    Well, somebody has to say it: THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE ANYTHING NICE. There is absolutely no reason why this shed should have been set ablaze. Our community p-patches are some of the best parts of the city and the people who nurture them some of the best people. And this is what they get. Fooey.

    • Jethro Marx March 11, 2022 (11:52 pm)

      Nobody has to say that. I am saddened by the senseless loss and apparently intentional destruction.

  • Bob W. March 11, 2022 (9:37 pm)

    The Thursday afternoon fire was northeast of the shed, a few yards off the main trail, to the north of it on a path leading off to an encampment area that’s been there off and on for years.
    Flames were jumping up about 5-6 feet, from a red plastic fuel or oil carrier, I’d guess about 3 or 4 gallon size, that looked at that point to be more than halfway melted down and consumed by the fire. So it must have been burning for a little while, as the needles on the branches of a tree, a foot or two above the flames, were blackened by the smoke. I thought the tree fronds might catch fire and we’d have a forest fire in there, so I called 911.
    In the next few minutes, while talking to the dispatcher and describing the location, the flames decreased as the fuel and plastic were consumed more, and it didn’t look like there was any longer a danger of setting the tree on fire.
    The last I heard, fire dispatch indicated that a fire truck couldn’t get there before the fire would be completely out for lack of fuel, given the rate at which the flames were retreating. But I don’t know whether the Fire Marshal took a look at it.

    That same little area has had other arson fires. The former wooden bridge over the creek, a few years ago. A wooden wheelbarrow set on fire next to that same shed a couple of years ago and burnt to ashes.

  • JulNJer March 12, 2022 (2:53 am)

    Another gardener and I took turns buying materials and making repairs whenever this guy tore it apart over the last month, but with this last fire the shed is now beyond repair.This same guy’s chopped down 30-50 trees in the greenspace behind the P-Patch, dumped numerous garden supplies (including the lawn mower) in the stream, broke multiple decorative planters in gardener plots, and today he tore apart the fence and gates along the west side. All have been reported to SPD.Many of us are are considering not gardening this year because what’s the point if it’s all just going to be destroyed?

    • waikikigirl March 12, 2022 (7:17 am)

      I know it’s disheartening and I understand your feelings for not wanting to do any gardening this Spring but are you going to let this person WIN!? This is exactly what he wants, don’t let him win, these Pea Patches are enjoyment, exercise and a social gathering of people that like to see things grow…don’t let him win!

    • WS Res March 12, 2022 (10:10 am)

      Serious question – how do you know it’s one particular person?  If you’ve got a clear sense of who it is, are there mental health/crisis services that could be called, rather than police?

  • GivePeasaChance March 12, 2022 (9:18 am)

    If it is known who is doing this (reference to “the same guy”) is there any way that person could be connected with off site/ out of area mental health services or apprehended in these  acts ….which are not only destructive but have the potential to escalate?.  So sorry the positive energy and community joy  of gardening as well as the benefits to all who pass by may be lost due to these repeated hostile acts. 

  • Kelly March 12, 2022 (9:34 am)

    There have been ongoing acts of vandalism in the p patch. Over the past month is has been getting worse and it’s beginning to feel dangerous. I usually take a daily walk through the green space with my children and visit the p patch but we may need to stop.  Other neighbors also feel unsafe in the green space and have stopped visiting. I worry that without community presence the destruction will go unchecked and continue to escalate. It’s beyond disappointing that one person is creating so much damage. I hope the gardeners can get some support from the city. 

  • rico March 12, 2022 (10:15 am)

    I am generally passive about dealing with trouble causing people, but I sure wish our community had enough people with the gumption to confront this man repeatedly, as needed.   Let’s face it, I think we will need to become more confrontational with these folks, because our local Govt. is clearly not going to do it. 

  • Auntie March 12, 2022 (10:21 am)

    Everyone needs to report this encampment, which is not just a nuisance, but an actual danger.Encampment Abatement Program – Homelessness | seattle.govIf you have already reported it, ask your neighbors to report it, as well. The squeaky wheel gets the grease!

  • Bob W. March 12, 2022 (11:06 am)

    One day a year or two ago, an angry middle aged guy was busy breaking up the picnic table that used to be by the shed. Someone, almost certainly groups of high school students who liked to sit on it and socialize, had dragged it over by the creek, and after that, groups of kids had frequently convened there, just as they had when it was next to the shed.
    But Angry Guy was convinced that homeless people were behind it. And he angrily spouted his views about that while he was breaking it up and throwing the pieces in the creek.
    My general impression has been that high school students, during school hours or otherwise, and/or the local dropouts, have been the source of a quite a bit of the detrimental activities around that area.

    But Angry Guy is a menace, and there was no reasoning with him.

  • Bob W. March 12, 2022 (6:24 pm)

    One good thing that the City did a few years ago, after the rash of gang tagging, and big spray painted hearts with girlfriends’ names, and lots of juvenile slogans painted on dozens of trees along the trail, was to clean that up. And actually it’s stayed cleaned up for the most part, since then. The area supervisor sent out a crew, soon after I and I’m sure others complained about it. They didn’t clean the paint off the trees as I had supposed, but instead painted it over with tree colored paint. Maybe that sounds obvious, but I would never have thought of it. Since then, it has looked like a forest again. Without her response to area residents’ complaints about this abuse and degradation of the park, I think similar copycat vandalism would have just continued and increased, because the teenagers were continually inspired by seeing it there.

    These fires are different. This series of crimes is by someone whose actions are unsafe for everyone in the vicinity.

    Where is the City on this one? Apparently, so far, sleeping on the job.

    Can the City temporarily install a traffic camera type of device covering the shed and garden area? Or think of some better way to help solve this?

  • Sly March 13, 2022 (6:42 pm)

    As a 10 year resident of the townhomes directly across the street from this p patch and seeing the time of the fire being near school let out hours, I suspect it was Chief Sealth or Denny students.Ever since in person school has been back in session, there has been rampant trespassing, littering, graffiti, rocks through windows, car keying and disrespectful behavior shown to the complex and neighborhood by a small group of students from both schools.We are only now beginning to get  a response from school authorities. We’ve been told the school has no authority over students who are off campus. We’ve always had issues with students over the years, but this year has been particularly rampant. I wouldn’t be surprised for things to escalate into arson.

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