2-alarm fire at the former Borracchini’s Bakery in the Mt. Baker neighborhood

SEATTLE — At 3:38 p.m., the Seattle Fire Department’s Fire Alarm Center received multiple 911 calls reporting smoke and flames coming from the vacant Borracchini’s Bakery near the 2300 block of Rainier Ave. S. Firefighters arrived on scene within four minutes after the initial 911 calls came in, and they confirmed a working fire within the vacant building. Crews from Ladder 3 made entry via a second-floor entrance, but witnessed a gust of smoke immediately flow backward into the building. This is a clear sign of potential backdraft conditions. The crew immediately shut the entry-door to prevent more air from entering, then informed incident command to order all firefighters to evacuate the building. A backdraft is where fresh air combines with hot, unburned materials that can rapidly ignite with lethal, devastating force.

Firefighters pour water onto the building on fire.

Firefighters transitioned to a defensive strategy where they poured water on the fire at a safe distance away from the building. Around 4 p.m.., the roof began to collapse as flames erupted from the attic space. In response, the incident commander upgraded the incident to a 2-alarm fire. By 4:36 p.m., Puget Sound Energy and Seattle City Light were able to shut off the building’s natural gas and electricity. Shortly after, firefighters established a safety perimeter around the building because they observed the south and east walls were beginning to collapse. Firefighters had the fire under control by 6:15 p.m. Crews stayed overnight to monitor for flare ups and hot spots.

One firefighter sustained minor injuries and was transported to Harborview Medical Center for further medical care. He was later discharged from the hospital and went home. The incident is currently under investigation.

UPDATED May 31, 2022: Investigators ruled the fire as undetermined, though the investigation is ongoing.

Ladder 1 utilizes its aerial ladder to pour water onto the fire.