At 1:11 a.m., our Fire Alarm Center received a 9-1-1 call reporting flames visible from a warehouse building on the 600 block of NW 40th St. Crews arrived on scene within five minutes of being dispatched and confirmed flames as well as heavy smoke coming from a large metal building approximately 120 feet by 80 feet. By 1:20 a.m., firefighters finished an inspection of the warehouse’s perimeter and determined the fire to be fully involved. As a result, the incident escalated to a 2-alarm response where a total of 11 engines, 5 ladders and 1 fireboat were dispatched in addition to supporting units. Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utility were also notified to shut off electricity and natural gas lines to the building.
According to warehouse employees, the building served as a shipping and receiving area that stored glass products and multiple 12-foot-tall crates of cardboard. The large amount of combustibles along with temperature readings exceeded 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit inside the structure, forced crews to fight the fire defensively. A smoke inhalation warning was announced for residents and workers within half a mile of the warehouse; encouraging people to close their windows and doors.
Crews had the fire under control by 3:23 a.m., two hours after the first engine companies arrived on scene. Firefighters continued to pour water into the warehouse from a defensive position as temperature readings were still high and the building’s degrading structural integrity posed a risk for crews to enter. The fire was extinguished by 12:39 p.m. while crews continued to monitor for hot spots well into the evening.
Fire Investigators determined the cause of the fire to be accidental and resulted from overheated electrical wiring. Total estimated loss is $2.6 million.