SEATTLE – At 10:39 a.m., a neighbor called 911 reporting visible smoke in a 4-story apartment building on the 10500 block of 8th Ave NE. Engine 39 was the first crew on-scene and confirmed light smoke coming from a unit on the 4th floor. When they made it to the unit they realized it was unoccupied and made forcible entry into the condo to discover a well involved fire originating from the natural gas fireplace. The incident was immediately upgraded to a full response fire as more crews arrived to supply water and provide search and rescue efforts.
At 11:04 a.m. the incident escalated to a 2-alarm fire where more than 25 fire engines, trucks and supporting units responded (more than 70 firefighters). Ladder 9 helped a non-ambulatory occupant down a stairwell furthest away from the fire room. Then made entry into the fire room with a hose line in place to get water directly onto the fire. Engine 24 completed a primary search of the fire room and confirmed no occupants were inside. Additional crews evacuated all occupants of the effected hallway on the 4th floor. Ladder 5, Ladder 6 and additional crews made it onto the roof of the apartment building to cut ventilation corridors and inspect the attic space for areas where the fire spread. The building’s cockloft, a void space in-between the roof and ceiling, was exposed so crews worked hard to control the fire and prevent it from spreading to other units.
By 11:24 a.m., crews had the fire under control and continued to inspect the building for possible extensions or hot spots. Puget Sound Energy and Seattle City Light responded to help shut down natural gas lines and electricity to the building as a safety precaution.
Fire investigators determined the fire was accidental and originated in an overheated natural gas fireplace where the flue got hot enough to ignite insulation and surrounding wood rafters in the ceiling and attic void space. Estimated loss is $100,000 to the structure and $10,000 in contents. No injuries were reported.