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SFD fights to save historic PRAG House in 16th/Aloha fire — UPDATE


(Image: CHS reader Jonathan)

(Image: CHS reader Jonathan)

Smoke and flames were visible from a 7,000 square foot home at 16th Ave E and Aloha in a Tuesday afternoon attic blaze that spread and shot through the roof of a historic 107-year-old Capitol Hill mansion.

(Image sent in by reader Hope)

(Image sent in by reader Hope)

The fight carried on for nearly more than an hour as firefighters attempted to bring the attic and roof flames from the three story house under control. One firefighter was reported injured in the response. No other injuries have been reported.

The 16th and Aloha structure is “an urban housing cooperative” known as the PRAG House. We do not know how many residents are living in the house at this time. Records show the building to have 13 bedrooms. The structure was undergoing a partial renovation and scaffolding could be seen set up on the south side of the building. UPDATE: Seattle Fire reports that the Red Cross is assisting with finding shelter for 13 residents — and a dog — who were living in the house.

Seattle Fire units responded to the two-alarm incident in the 700 block of 16th Ave E around 12:15 PM and began battling the fire. Firefighters were still working to control the blaze some 90 minutes after the first reports of smoke and flames. The fire was declared “tapped” just after 2 PM. Nearly 100 firefighters responded to aid in the incident.

The fire marshal was called to the scene to determine the cause of the fire and provide a damage estimate. UPDATE: SFD says a worker operating a grinder accidentally sparked the fire. The flame, smoke and water caused an estimated $1.25 million in damage. We’ve reached out to the Evergreen Land Trust to find out if there are ways for the community to pitch in and help in the recovery.IMG_7132


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26 thoughts on “SFD fights to save historic PRAG House in 16th/Aloha fire — UPDATE

  1. Guessing it is PRAG house, a historical political house of progressives (including city council member) over the years. They were doing roof work on the house this week….must have combusted.

    Can smell the smoke four blocks north.

  2. From now on, I’ll know to come here first when a friend calls to ask me to look up what’s going on at a Capitol Hill cross-section full of first responders! You’re the go-to blog and better than or Google News for this kind of thing. I’m whitelisting your site in my settings for Ghostery and the like. Thanks!

  3. Yes, I believe that is the PRAG House. (Was it Licata that lived there? Can’t remember.)

    KiroTV had their news helicopter out with a live feed (but now gone). They have pictures up on their website.

    • Yes, Nick Licata lived there with his family and others. My mom babysat his daughter and we lived down the block from them. Glad no one was hurt but sad because that is a stunning building.

  4. Sad to see this damage. I hope its not too severe and can be repaired and not replaced.

    And yes, props to CHB for their timely reporting of breaking news!

  5. Back in 1940 and early 1950 this was a residence/convent for the Sisters of St Joseph who taught at St Joseph’s school for boys which was not co-ed at the time.

    • Actually it was the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM). They did teach at St. Joseph grade school.

      Prior to that Mary McCarthy, author of The Group, lived there while attending Garfield High School.

      After the Sisters, John and MaryAnn Barnett (formerly of Washington, D.C.) lived there.

  6. I was just there standing with the residents as the fire dept. was telling them what happened. Sounds like the fire was a result of the roofing work, that sparks from their equipment went into a small room in the southeast corner of the attic and caught fire. He said there wasn’t any fire damage in the lower floors, but lots of water damage. The residents are talking with the Red Cross who will help them find places to stay tonight. The fire dept. will take each resident in one at a time to collect personal items.

  7. Your photos are vastly better than those on the PI’s website. I actually felt that I got some information from your pics.

  8. Aw! I’ve really appreciated that that huge house housed so many while still being lovely. I like walking past it — the bundled-bay-leaves fascia trim is gorgeous.

    Hope it gets safely restored.

  9. It is so sad to know this news. I had so many fun and happiness memory of PRAG house when I first visited Seattle in 2007. Hope it get restored soon.

  10. I remember when they put the mosaic into the sidewalk in front of PRAG house. I think it was the early 80s…I could be off by several years. But it made that corner special, as did knowing that the people in the beautiful mansion behind it were modeling a cooperative way of living. It was a real shock and very sad to see the building take so much damage today.

    I’m also grateful for the quick response of the Fire Dept so that the flames did not spread.

    TY to Christie S. for the historical notes!

  11. I live in the neighborhood and have been in this beautiful house several times. Let’s hope it is lovingly restored. Glad no-one was injured and hope the residents are well cared for in this stressful time for them.

    I participated in the mosaic, providing a pewter and a brass belt buckle for the artist to install on the walk near the beautiful tulip tree.

  12. What a shock to see this! I lived down the block for over 25 years and watched
    the neighborhood go through restoration, including the Prag House.
    When I’m in town, I still walk or drive down the tree-lined street and I had looked
    up at that mansion just last Saturday. I’m so glad that they saved it and I hope
    the resources can be found to re-build the south roof to original specifications.
    The old structures are really irreplaceable…

  13. My great grandfather built that house, my mother and grandmother had many fond memories of it, and it breaks my heart to see it in flames. My best wishes go out to the current owners.

  14. Sorry to see the dear house catch fire. Spent many days and nights there in my formative years (’74,’75). The people that lived there were genuinely life-like and tolerated our teenage lifestyles.

  15. Yes, my parents John and Marianne Barnet bought the home in1960 from the church. We did a lot of remodelng and updating to bring it back to a single-family home. We did lots of entertaining including a fundraising reception for then governor Rossellini. The house also was featured on a Seattle Art Museum home tour in the early 60s. Marianne Barnet was an interior designer and had a shop (Carrousel) in Georgetown (Washington, DC) before moving to Seattle. My parents moved to E Boston Street in 1969. John passed in 1976, and Marianne in 2002 after moving Boise ID.

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