There were no reported injuries and Seattle Fire says a search of the structure revealed nobody inside the two-story home set to make way for a townhouse development across from Lowell Elementary School. The fire and smoke were first reported just before 8:30 PM.
In April, an emergency order directed the property owner to secure the house “against unauthorized entry” including ensuring “plumbing and electrical fixtures, wiring, and service lines” are safe — or removed.
According to a complaint lodged last week, the house was apparently “secured” with trespassers still inside:
The vacant building at 609 Federal Ave E was re-secured earlier this afternoon. The second- floor entry on the back of the building was boarded up again. It seems though that the building was occupied at the time of re-securement. We heard thumping noises at 2:06 pm and called the SPD non- emergency line. This quickly turned into an emergency call to 911 five minutes later when I observed two people attempting to lower themselves down from a rope from the third story window. A potentially fatal fall seemed likely onto the pavement below. Five SPD officers responded, engaged with the four trespassers, and were able to safely did them down with the help of a ladder provided by Seattle Fire Ladder 10. The third story window remains open to the elements and the four trespassers were sent on their way. This is SPD incident #20-159279. We are again requesting that this building be either properly and finally secured or demolished as soon as possible. This is a waste of our time, a continual safety and nuisance issue for the neighborhood, and a waste of time for the SPD and Seattle Fire. Their resources should not be wasted having to address the situations these unsecured and vacant buildings continue to present.
Seattle Fire said Sunday night’s blaze started in the building’s basement.
According to county records, Henghua Investment purchased the house for $1.65 million in 2018 as part of a deal to acquire a portion of the block for the townhouse development. Permits for b9 architects show a plan for two 4-unit townhouse buildings and parking for seven vehicles. A demolition permit for the property was approved in August of 2019.
UPDATE 5/19/2020: SFD says investigators have ruled the cause of the fire as “accidental” and tell CHS it broke out in the corner of the basement “from activity of someone occupying the abandoned structure.”
THANKS! WE DID IT! 1,000 CHS SUBSCRIBERS -- We asked, you answered. Thanks for stepping up!
Support local journalism dedicated to your neighborhood. SUBSCRIBE HERE. Join to become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with NO PAYWALL. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.