The City of Seattle is taking a methodical approach to investigating the cause of the equipment malfunction experienced on Engine 18 at the scene of the fatal fire in Fremont. Engine 81, a reserve fire engine was used by the crew of Engine 18 on Saturday while their first line engine was undergoing routine maintenance.
An independent expert, as well as an expert from the engine’s manufacturer, Emergency One, will conduct the investigation. The Seattle Fire Department and the City’s Fleets and Facilities Department, which maintains this vehicle, are cooperating in this investigation.
The first step in this process is to review the maintenance and repair records for Engine 81 and the nine other Seattle Fire Department engines that are the same model. Engine 81 has been secured and no work will be performed on the engine until the independent investigation gets under way.
See Engine 81 Fact Sheet for additional information regarding Engine 81.
What is Known
The fire started on the main floor of a two-story apartment unit and quickly spread upstairs to the second floor. Heavy smoke and flames were coming from the windows and doors of the apartment when the first firefighters arrived. One woman and a 5-year-old girl escaped the fire but five other family members were trapped in an upstairs bathroom. They were unable to get out because of heavy fire.
The apartment had a smoke alarm system and investigators were told that the smoke alarm did go off.
What is Unknown
Seattle Fire investigators have wrapped up their on-scene investigation. The official cause of the fire is undetermined pending test results but investigators say they have no reason to believe the fire is suspicious.
The Seattle Fire Department plans to meet with residents of the apartment building and neighbors to talk about what happened at the fire and answer questions. The date, time and location of the meeting will be announced as soon as the meeting has been arranged. To respect the family’s mourning, the meeting will not be held until after the memorial service.