Car Blocks Hydrant at SODO Commercial Building Fire

April 24—Seattle Fire Investigators determined a fire in a commercial building in SODO was accidental, caused by an overheated ventilation fan. The damage estimate is more than $60,000 to the structure and contents.

At 9:41 a.m. a call came into the Fire Alarm Center reporting flames coming from a 2-story commercial building in the 2400 block of 1st Avenue South at the corner of South Landers Street. The responding crews noticed a column of smoke from three blocks away.

Firefighters initiated a search and rescue operation in both the fire building and the building located to the North.  Seven employees and two customers were on the first floor of the building when the lights went out, and smoke and fire began shooting from the ceiling vents. All of the occupants safely self-evacuated. There were no injuries.

It took firefighters 10 minutes to get the fire under control.  It took about a half-an-hour to completely extinguish the flames.  The fire started in a ventilation system between floors 1 and 2 and charred a 10 foot by 10 foot area.

The fire arriving engine company was delayed in getting a water due to a car illegally parked directly in front of the closest fire hydrant. The firefighters ended up laying the hoseline on top of the car in order to reach the burning building.

The Seattle Police Department issued a $42 citation to the car’s owner and impounded the car for being illegally parked.

The Seattle Municipal Code 11.72.160 – Fire hydrant, states:

No person shall stand or park a vehicle within fifteen feet (15′) of a fire hydrant. (RCW 46.61.570(1)(b)(ii))  (Ord. 108200, § 2(11.72.160), 1979.)

The Seattle Fire Code also has a provision to deal with obstructions to fire hydrants

 507.5.4 Obstruction. Unobstructed access to fire hydrants

shall be maintained at all times. The fire department shall

not be deterred or hindered from gaining immediate access

to fire protection equipment or fire hydrants.