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2-Alarm houseboat fire in the Westlake neighborhood.

Photo by John Odegard

Seattle — Earlier this afternoon at 1:58 p.m., the Seattle Fire Department’s Fire Alarm Center received 911 calls reporting a houseboat on fire in Lake Union, docked near the 1800 block of Westlake Ave. N. in the Westlake neighborhood. The first firefighters to arrive informed the Fire Alarm Center that the fire extended to an adjacent houseboat and a four-story commercial building. As a result, incident command upgraded the response to a 2-alarm fire where nine fire engines, five ladder trucks, Fireboat 1, Marine 1, Rescue 1 and additional support units were dispatched. Amounting to over 75 firefighters.

Firefighters worked quickly to knock down the majority of the fire, preventing it from extending into the building. By 2:30 p.m., they had the fire under control. Crews searched both houseboats and the impacted building to confirm no occupants were inside and no injuries were reported. However, one dog was reported missing.

The U.S. Coast Guard and Department of Ecology were notified of the incident while our crews removed water from the houseboats to prevent them from sinking and deployed flotation booms to prevent fuel and toxins from spreading. A fire engine will remain on scene for fire watch throughout the day. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

UPDATED MAY 30: Fire investigators determined the fire was accidental, and likely caused by combustible items placed too close to a heater.

Heating Safety Tips:

  • Never block the flow of heat; give your heaters space.
  • Keep children 3 feet away from anything that can get hot, including heaters.
  • Do not put anything close to a heater and do not let anything hang across or on a heater.
  • Never use an extension cord with a portable heater; plug a portable heater directly into a wall outlet.
  • Make sure your portable heater is tested by an independent testing laboratory and has an automatic shut-off feature if it tips over.
  • Turn portable heaters off before leaving the room or before going to bed.