West Seattle, Washington
The photos are from Bill, one of several people who have emailed us in the past few days to report that tragedy has befallen a rogue West Seattle art installation – the trailside tribute to Rolf Neslund, “patron saint of the broken bridge,” placed and announced in September 2020, half a year into the West Seattle Bridge’s closure. The sculpture and its pedestal have gone sideways.
(Tipsters’ assessment is that it fell because its wooden pedestal rotted, not because of vandalism.) If you’re new around here, Neslund was blamed for the 1978 ship collision that forced the old West Seattle Bridge to be replaced. He subsequently retired and was murdered by his wife in 1980. HistoryLink summarizes the strange story. Anyway, the sculpture was nothing official – it was announced by a mysterious person claiming to be ‘Lars Fujikawa of the Delridge Maritime Historical Society.” The first installation was stolen barely a week after its placement; the replacement was installed by “Lars” (and friends?) about a month later. So the question arises now, in pixels rather than a Bat-signal in the sky – “Lars,” where are you? Can you make Rolf an upstanding sculpture again? (We emailed the account from which the sculpture news arrived in 2020, but no acknowledgment so far.) Or – anyone else able to ride, sail, etc., to the rescue?
SUNDAY UPDATE: Rose, the first person who sounded the alarm about this, has taken Rolf and plaque into protective custody. If “Lars” – or anyone else interested in helping – sees this, email us and we’ll connect you.
5:16 PM: Seattle Fire has a water-rescue response headed by land and sea for a kayaker reported in trouble off 5200 block of Beach Drive.
5:19 PM: And the kayaker is reported to have made it to shore. … so they’re canceling the response.
Thanks for the tips, and to Erin for the top photo. The front of the AT&T store at Jefferson Square is smashed in – but this was NOT a burglary, it was a crash. The car is still in the store:
No injuries. One witness says it was apparently a case of gas pedal/brake pedal confusion but we were unable to confirm that with police.
3:32 PM: If you are headed toward the West Seattle low bridge or Harbor Island, note that westbound Spokane Street is reported to be blocked at East Marginal Way right now for an emergency response. A bicyclist is reported to have been “sideswiped” by a semi-truck driver. Medics have told dispatch that the rider is “alert and conscious.”
3:51 PM: SDOT traffic control says the scene has cleared. We’ll follow up with SFD on the rider’s condition.
6:22 PM: SFD’s response to our inquiry: “Crews treated a 37-year-old male who is in stable condition. Paramedics transported him to Harborview. Reported as a bicyclist collision into a moving semi-truck towing a trailer.”
12:59 PM: Multiple 911 callers (and texters to us) have reported hearing two explosions a few minutes ago – possibly in the Seaview area – , and some reported seeing smoke, at least briefly, but no particular incident/location has surfaced yet. We’ll update.
1:09 PM: Still a mystery.
1:24 PM: Nothing has surfaced. One commenter says they saw “mortars” launched from a yard in Seaview.
7:33 PM: SFD is sending a water-rescue response to the 2600 block of Alki Avenue SW for a report of someone who, according to dispatch, “flipped (their) kayak” a quarter-mile offshore and is having trouble righting it. Police are also going to help from shore.
(Added: Photo by David Hutchinson)
7:43 PM: The person is safely ashore and this is “no longer an emergency event,” responders have told dispatch.
11:59 AM: SFD and SPD are responding to 42nd/Oregon. Updates to come.
12:04 PM: Initial dispatch was for a woman with a gunshot wound. Police are questioning a man. This is at the AJ Apartments.
12:17 PM: The woman is reported to have an abdominal wound and is being taken to Harborview. We were a block away when the response happened and are at the scene waiting to talk to police.
12:33 PM: Police tell us the man they were questioning is under arrest. They are not commenting on whatever they’ve learned about the circumstances so far.
1 PM: Listening back to dispatch audio now that we’re back at HQ, the initial report was that the man and woman knew each other and that he claimed he shot her because she “came at him with a knife.” Dispatch also was told that neighbors retrieved the gun and were turning it over to police.
1:55 PM: SFD says the victim was in critical condition when transported.
6:26 PM: Via SPD Blotter, police added a few more details, confirming “there was a disturbance, involving a knife and a firearm,” showing a photo of the gun, and describing the shooting victim as 24 years old and the arrested suspect as 29 years old.
MONDAY AFTERNOON: The suspect remains in jail; we’re checking on whether he will have a probable-cause/bail hearing today.
TUESDAY UPDATE: The man arrested Sunday has been released from jail.
1:07 AM: An SFD water-rescue response and SPD units are headed for the Alki Point vicinity, and dispatch is describing the incident as a possible disturbance on a boat. Updates to come.
1:14 AM: First units arriving in the area aren’t seeing anything so far.
1:21 AM: A fireboat has located “a patient” offshore and has them onboard. They’ll be taking the person to Seacrest. Dispatch is describing the person as “a kayaker that was in distress.”
1:31 PM: SFD says the kayaker is unhurt. Both they and their kayak are on board the fireboat.
SPD and SFD converged on the north entrance of West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor) a short time ago because of what was reported as “a car into a building.” Turns out the driver didn’t hit the building but did go up over the curb very close to the north doors. Major damage was to some planters by those doors, our crew reports, and no injuries reported. They were still talking to the driver at last report about whether this was a case of driver error, medical trouble, or mechanical problem.
1:05 PM: Thanks for the tip. SFD is at the Cottage Grove Commons supportive-housing building, 5444 Delridge Way SW, for a hazmat response because of what they’re calling a “strong odor” from one of the units. SPD has northbound Delridge Way blocked between Brandon and Findlay as a result. Updates to come.
1:14 PM: Now police are blocking both directions of Delridge.
1:25 PM: Our crew is at the scene to find out more. So far that’s still all SFD is saying – there’s a strong smell emanating from one of the apartments, and the hazmat responders are strategizing what to do next – they’re not even in their protective gear yet so far as we can see.
1:48 PM: That has since changed.
We’ve spoken again with SFD and SPD on scene. As a commenter notes, this involved a resident mixing chemicals in the toilet of his unit, which he apparently has done before, believing he is extracting gold from rocks. The resident isn’t home now because, SFD says, he has been transported to Harborview for an involuntary evaluation. Hazmat responders have just gone into the apartment to try to figure out how to safely address the situation so there is no health or fire risk to anyone else.
2:07 PM: Hazmat responders have just told dispatch that their evaluation shows no imminent hazard, so they’re coming back out.
2:30 PM: The response has been reduced as a result.
2:45 PM: Dispatch has been told the street has reopened all ways.
ADDED WEDNESDAY MORNING: SFD spokesperson David Cuerpo tells us that, after entry, “Our HazMat crews found multiple household cleaning products in sealed containers and determined it was not a hazard. Residents were allowed to return to their homes shortly after.”
4:37 PM: Thanks for the tip. SW Thistle is closed between 28th and 30th right now – in the Southwest Pool vicinity – because of a crash. We’re seeing one badly damaged vehicle at the scene but still trying to find out more about what happened; the driver is being taken to a hospital by private ambulance.
4:40 PM: We’re told the driver was coming down Thistle eastbound at high speed, hit the pedestrian island, lost control, hit a parked car, and came to a stop by the tennis courts west of Southwest Pool.
5:50 PM: SFD tells us the driver, a 22-year-old man, was in stable condition when transported.
1:10 PM: Big Seattle Fire response to the 3500 block of West Marginal Way [map], coded as a “confined-space rescue.” Firefighters have told dispatch that it’s an injured person in a 200-foot barge in a space that’s only accessible via a two-foot-wide opening. They say they’re “working on the water side of the barge.” The address cross-references to Island Tug and Barge, and the firefighters are using “Island” to describe the incident location in radio discussion.
1:49 PM: SFD reports firefighters have safely rescued the injured person, who will be taken to a hospital. They used an aerial ladder to lift the person out:
4:06 PM: SFD and the Coast Guard are responding to what’s reported as a boat colliding with a dock in the 1300 block of Spokane St. Updates to come.
4:09 PM: Texter (who sent the photo above) describes this as ‘runaway crane barge’ hitting a marina.
4:22 PM: No injuries reported. SFD has closed out its response.
4:45 PM: We just went over for a look. From Jim Clark Marina, that Coast Guard vessel in our photo is the only sign of anything out of the ordinary.
6:43 PM: An update from USCG: “A tug pushing a barge with a crane caused damage to approximately 3 houseboats.”
11:06 PM: SPD and an SFD “rescue extrication” response are arriving at a crash that is described as blocking Delridge both ways in the 4700 block [map]. Updates to come.
11:09 PM: One person is reported to be out of the vehicle. No major injuries, firefighters told dispatch.
11:24 PM: We don’t have visuals so far but police have described the crash as “single vehicle rollover.”
11:36 PM: Thanks to the texter who just sent the photo added above.
11:54 PM: And thanks to Barb D, who sent this security camera video of the crash – the driver hit a parked car, and then their car rolled:
12:46 PM: Thanks also to the texter who sent these photos:
We’ll be following up with both SPD and SFD.
ADDED 10:30 AM: SFD tells us the driver, a 33-year-old woman, was taken to the hospital in stable condition.
11:58 AM: SPD says she was arrested for investigation of DUI.
6:02 PM: Police have told dispatch that 35th SW northbound is closed between Alaska and Avalon. A two-vehicle collision is involved but some kind of police response preceded the crash – we’re working to find out more.
6:10 PM: Thanks to Jason for the photo above. More than two vehicles appear to be involved. We’re heading to the scene to try to find out more.
6:26 PM: The juvenile driver of the black car that hit the tree is being taken to the precinct for questioning. Police at the scene told our crew that he was driving recklessly, speeding, downhill on 35th before hitting other cars. The car was not stolen. However, just after our crew left the scene, an officer told dispatch that this car matches the description of the one in which the Westwood GameStop robbery suspects are believed to have gotten away in, so they’ll be investigating that. No injuries reported at the crash scene.
7:11 PM: Police are reopening the street; the black car is being towed to SPD’s evidence-processing facility.
8:52 PM: SFD and SPD are on the way to 35th/Barton, dispatched to a crash reported to involve a “rollover.” Updates to come.
8:55 PM: The car is flipped, as shown on the nearest traffic camera. The response is being downsized because no one is trapped. But police are looking for someone who is reported to have walked/run away from the crash – described as a “white male, red hoodie, backpack, cowboy hat, cowboy boots.”
9:04 PM: Police have checked and so far it does NOT appear this was a stolen car. NB 35th is blocked just south of Barton, meantime.
9:38 PM: The tow truck has arrived and just turned the car over onto its wheels, so the street should be clear before too long.
9:44 PM: Officers just told dispatch the scene is clear and the street is open all ways. Apparently no luck finding the driver.
8:33 PM: Thanks for the tip. A Seattle Fire “rescue extrication” response was sent to 47th/Wildwood, near the Fauntleroy ferry dock. SFD says it’s a two-vehicle collision with one on its side.
8:39 PM: SFD says everybody’s out of the vehicles. Awaiting word on injuries.
9:47 PM: SFD says two people were taken to the hospital, a 60-year-old man in serious condition and a 70-year-old man in stable condition. A 60-year-old woman had minor injuries. The scene is now clear.
11:58 PM: Police and fire are arriving at a reported flipped-car crash at California/Fauntleroy. Everybody’s reported to be out of the car, no serious injuries.
12:26 AM: This is on the southbound side of California by Morgan Junction Park. Northbound vehicles are getting by.
12:51 AM: Officers at the scene just told dispatch that they’ll be “reopening the road shortly” and are calling for a tow for the flipped car.
ADDED MIDDAY SUNDAY: As noted in comments, two damaged cars remained parked at the crash scene this morning.
5:57 PM: Avoid the area. We’re en route to find out what happened.
6:14 PM: We are juat arriving. A reader texted this photo:
6:22 PM: The driver went into a ditch that’s been netted off as part of road work. No serious injuries, firefighters tell us – no one needed to be taken to a hospital.
7:51 PM: A texter says the car’s been pulled out, so the scene should be entirely clear shortly.
9:40 PM: Seattle Fire is sending a “full response” to California/Edmunds. The report is: flames in alley, but “they’re not sure what’s on fire.” It’s on the alley east of California, west of 42nd, and reported to be in a basement, in a building described as “just behind US Bank.” Updates to come.
9:45 PM: They’re reducing the response. Apparently not a large fire. We’re on our way to find out exactly which building.
9:54 PM: Fire declared “tapped” (out). No injuries reported. SFD describes it as an exterior fire.
9:59 PM: The fire was on the back side of the Performing Arts building per the tweeted photo above.
10:04 PM: Our photographer has talked to firefighters who say it was trash burning in a dumpster.
No building damage reported. (Added) For more location context, here’s a wider shot texted to us:
That’s the US Bank lot in the left foreground, and in the semi-distance at upper right, the Edmunds/California 7-11.
ADDED 11:12 AM: Regarding cause/damage, SFD tells WSB, “Fire investigators ruled this fire as undetermined. It was a debris fire in a covered patio area next to structure. Total estimated loss is $50,000.”
4:08 PM: Thanks for the tips about an SPD/SFD response at Summit Atlas, the charter middle/high school at 35th/Roxbury. We went over to check. Police were about to leave and told us that it was only a medical response and in the end, they weren’t needed. Tweets By Beat classifies the initial call as a possible overdose. We’re checking further with SFD, as the crew on scene was busy, so we don’t know yet whether a student was involved; a medic unit was originally dispatched (along with Ladder 13, which is what you see in our photo) but was dismissed within a few minutes of arrival.
4:14 PM: SFD spokesperson David Cuerpo says their crew treated a 17-year-old girl who was taken to Children’s Hospital by private ambulance. She was in stable condition when transported.
12:44 PM: Seattle Fire has a “rescue extrication” response arriving for a crash in the 4900 block of Erskine Way [map]. Updates to come.
12:48 PM: First crews on scene say it’s two vehicles, one person possibly hurt but nobody trapped, so they’re downsizing the response.
1 PM: Photo added from our crew at the scene. Police tell us the red truck, parked, was hit by the driver of the other vehicle. No injuries.
5:06 PM: What one responder described to dispatch as “a very large tree” has fallen on 35th near Avalon.
5:11 PM: Thanks to everyone who’s sent photos. 35th is closed between Avalon and Alaska because of this. Above and below are texted photos:
5:16 PM: That photo shows the location clearly – just south of the bus stop on northbound 35th. Note there’s at least one utility pole caught up in this, and responders have just warned that the railing behind the stop “might be electrified.” Also, Metro has just sent an advisory that this situation will affect C Line and Routes 21, 50, 55, and 773 (Water Taxi shuttle).
5:41 PM: That’s our crew’s view from the other side of the tree blockage. No reports of injuries. Two buses got stuck behind the tree – one marked 21, one marked “to terminal” – and they’re trying to get them out by backing up. The tree’s indeed affecting some poles/lines, but no outage is reported. Meantime, our crew also reports that traffic is snarled in the Y vicinity and elsewhere just west of 35th. If you’re headed eastbound on Alaska, you can turn to southbound 35th from there, but not northbound.
6:09 PM: No estimate on reopening.
7:54 PM: Still closed. A traffic camera is pointing southward toward the closed/blocked stretch of 35th:
8:53 PM: The SDOT camera shows activity around the tree, but otherwise the road remains closed to traffic.
9:40 PM: More crews are arriving and the tree is brightly illuminated. We’ll continue watching for progress. … A nearby resident reports hearing chainsaw activity.
10:09 PM: Two angles from people who have a view from the west side of 35th, as removal continues:
That pic is from a texter who described the tree as “monstrous” – the photo is from after at least a third of it was gone. Also, Katherine sent this video, so you can hear the operation:
11:53 PM: The tree appears to be gone but crews continue with utility work.
1:10 AM: That’s continuing, Here’s a ground-level photo that Matty contributed in the comment section:
3 AM: After 10 hours, 35th SW has just reopened – the utility crews are leaving; the signs, cones, and tapes have been removed. We’ll be following up later today on plans for ensuring there aren’t any other trees in that roadside stand in danger of falling.
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