September 27—A Belltown apartment fire was caused by combustible materials stored against a baseboard heater according to a Seattle Fire Investigator.
The original 911 call came into dispatchers at the Fire Alarm Center at 10:24 a.m. reporting fire and smoke inside a 3rd floor apartment at a 16-story building in the 2200 block of 1st Avenue.
When firefighters on Belltown Ladder Company 4 arrived, the building was in alarm and the apartment was fully-charged with black smoke. The occupant of the apartment safely self-evacuated while firefighters evacuated all the residents from floors 4 and below. Residents on floors 5 to 16 were told to stay in their units, close their doors and “shelter-in-place”.
Firefighters controlled the fire in just 10 minutes after arriving on scene. They were able to completely extinguish the flames within 15 minutes.
Callers to 911 originally indicated residents were breaking windows to get air. However, upon further investigation, the broken glass came from the fire unit’s windows when the heat and flames broke out the glass.
Medics evaluated the 63-year-old occupant of the apartment for smoke inhalation. AMR transported the patient to HMC as a precaution. He was in stable condition.
The damage estimate is $40,000 to the structure and $10,000 to the contents.
Fires caused by furniture, bedding, and other materials placed too close to baseboard heaters and portable heaters are the most common types of heating-related residential fires.
Here are a few tips to keep your home heating safe this winter:
Give your heaters space – Do not put anything next to a heater.
Baseboard heaters need 1 foot clearance and portable space heaters need 3 feet clearance.
Never use an extension cord with a portable heater.
Turn portable heaters off before leaving the room or before going to bed.