Two Alarm Fire Causes $350,000 Damage in University District



Photo Courtesy of Fire Buff John Odegard

Photo Courtesy of Fire Buff John Odegard

Photo Courtesy of Fire Buff John Odegard

Photo Courtesy of Fire Buff John Odegard

Seattle-At 3:40 a.m.  a Firefighter/Dispatcher at the Fire Alarm Center received a 911 call reporting a fire at a house under construction in the 5500 block of 12th Avenue NE in the University District. When firefighters arrived they found flames shooting ten feet from the roof of the under construction town home complex.

The flames had exposed to the roof and attic of a next door boarding house where 8 people lived. The occupants safely evacuated from the burning structure.

With two buildings burning, the incident commander called for a two-alarm fire nearly doubling the amount of resources on the scene.  Due to the heavy flames and with everyone evacuated, the firefighters took a defensive position meaning they fought the fires from the outside.  Eventually firefighters were able to make a transitional attack on the boarding house and fought the fire from the inside. Due to the risk of collapse of the under construction building, a collapse zone was formed around the fire site for the firefighter’s safety.

The fire burned on a nearby power pole causing a low voltage communication line to fall to the ground. Seattle City Light turned off the 110/220 volt power lines serving the building and isolated the damage to its 26,000 volt distribution line, protecting the line and service to an area hospital. About 630 customers were affected by the power outage. City Light crews expected to have power restored by 11 a.m.

The embers from the original fire flew to the roof of a third home on the west side of the burning building. Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish those embers.

It took nearly an hour to completely extinguish the flames of the two burning buildings.

Red Cross was called to assist 8 people, 4 adult males and 4 adult females, with temporary housing after being displaced from the fire damaged boarding house.

Investigators are waiting for a building engineer to determine the structural integrity of the under construction townhomes before they can enter the fire scene and determine the cause.

There were no injuries.