SEATTLE – Firefighters responded to the 600 Block of 23rd Ave. E. just after 1 a.m. on Feb. 6, 2019 for a report of a house fire. When Engine 25 and Ladder 10 from the Capitol Hill Fire Station first arrived on scene, they saw a two story house well-involved in fire, and a house to the south with flames showing from the roof and attic area. The response was immediately upgraded to a 2-alarm, bringing in additional units to help with firefighting efforts.
Crews worked quickly to put water on the fire and protect other nearby structures. They had the fire under control in both structures within 30 minutes, and fully extinguished within 70 minutes. Firefighters worked in subfreezing temperatures and travelled to the incident with chains on their apparatus. Water runoff was taken into consideration, as water on roads would likely freeze overnight. The Seattle Department of Transportation was requested to the scene to treat the roads for ice.
Two people in the house to the south of the primary fire structure were able to escape the fire prior to SFD arrival, due to alert neighbors who began knocking on doors. Firefighters conducted a search of both structures and determined the primary fire house was unoccupied at the time of the fire. At the height of the fire, there were eight engines and five ladder trucks on scene.
Fire investigators are in the process of conducting an investigation to determine the cause, estimated loss and point of origin. Further updates on the cause will follow.
UPDATE 2/6 at 8 p.m.: Fire investigators have ruled the cause of the fire as accidental, and determined it started from an energized baseboard heater. The fire started in the living room on floor 1 of the house to the north, and spread to the adjacent house on the south side. Total estimated loss is $200,000 to the north house and $250,000 to the south house.
Safety tips for baseboard heaters:
- Never allow any item to drape across or be placed on top of a heater.
- Move away any furniture, bedding and other materials placed too close to baseboard and portable heaters.