West Seattle Two Alarm Fire is Ruled as Accidental

May 1—Seattle Fire Investigators determined a two-alarm fire that damaged three homes was accidental, caused by an improperly installed heater on a back porch. The damage estimate is $2.7 million dollars total for all three homes.

On Thursday April 30th at 4:44 p.m., multiple 911 calls came into the Fire Alarm Center reporting smoke coming from a home in the 6700 block of 46th Avenue SW.  The first responding engine company  saw a large column of black smoke and called for a two-alarm fire response which doubled the number of fire units and personnel responding to the fire.

When crews arrive, they found two homes on fire with flames exposing to a third home. Soon, the third home was on fire. The Incident Commander called for three additional engine companies to assist with current fire crews on scene. At the height of the fire, nearly 100 firefighters and dozens of fire units were on scene.

Crews quickly determined that all occupants had safely evacuated the residences. A female occupant of the first fire house had escaped. A male and two females escaped the home to the north. The owner of the home to the south was out of town.

One significant challenge for firefighters was the long narrow hillside road with limited access.

As the fire progressed, firefighters connected to the four hydrants closest to the burning homes in two separate water pressure zones.  This included two hydrants above the fire and two below the fire. One of the initial four hydrants was located on Fauntleroy Ave SW which was about the length of two football fields.

As standard practice, Seattle Public Utilities responded to the fire scene to boost water flow on hydrants. The hydrants are owned, operated and maintained by Seattle Public Utilities. The Seattle Fire Code does not regulate SPU fire hydrants in the City of Seattle.

For the first two homes, firefighters took a defensive position, fighting the fire from the outside. They used the deck gun mounted on the first engine and a two-and-a-half inch hand line.

For the third home, firefighters ran an interior attack and crews worked to extinguish the fire on multiple floors.

The original fire house and the house to the south had partial collapses and firefighters were not able to enter.

There were no injuries to occupants or firefighters.

Multiple agencies assisted with the fire operation:

Seattle City Light
Seattle Police Department
Seattle Public Utilities
Seattle Department of Transportation
Metro Transit
Puget Sound Energy
South King County Fire Units From Zone 3 including:

  • Kent Fire Department
  • Renton Fire Department
  • Tukwila Fire Department
  • SeaTac Fire Department
  • South King County Fire Department