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One dead in 18th Ave house fire — UPDATE

Thanks to @tygraham for the picture from the scene

One person was found dead as firefighters battled an early evening fire in a house near 18th and Madison Wednesday.

Seattle Fire confirmed a person was found dead inside the two-story house as crews continued to battle the blaze first reported in the 1600 block of 18th Ave just before 5:30 PM.

Neighbors reported a non-ambulatory elderly male lived at the residence with pets.

UPDATE: A neighbor tells CHS that a witness reports cat Max and dog Vincent were able to escape and are being cared for.

The quickly spreading fire next to the Polish Home was reported under control just before 6 PM.

Investigators were called to the scene to determine what caused the deadly fire.

UPDATE 4/8/2021 9:17 AM: According to police, the initial investigation has determined that the fire was started accidentally. UPDATE x2: SFD says investigators determined the fire was “likely caused by a portable space heater placed too close to combustible materials.” “For safety, we recommend placing portable heaters at least 3 feet away from all combustible materials such as curtains, blankets and furniture,” the SFD update reads.

E Madison was closed to traffic during the response.


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Madeleine Zee
Madeleine Zee
29 days ago

Is their dog ok?! Vince would sit out on the porch and was the sweetest dog on earth. This is so devastating.

Ty Graham
Ty Graham
29 days ago

There used to be 2 cats, both named Max, they’d walk with the dog. The dog leashed, the cats just following along. They visited my cat a couple times.

Patty
Patty
29 days ago

Sad story for sure. Thank you for sharing it because I was not aware. :(

Meagan
Meagan
29 days ago

So sad. We are willing to take Vince and max in

Nate
Nate
29 days ago

This is so sad… we used to walk by and say hi to Vince all the time

Brad Boyd
Brad Boyd
29 days ago
Reply to  Nate

Vince was a neighborhood celebrity. A couple who would check in on Michael and help take care of Vincent are taking care of him. Last I knew, Max had taken off, but was not seen.

Katia
Katia
20 days ago
Reply to  Brad Boyd

Do you know who this couple is and how to contact them? I really would like to continue to see Vince and I know he’d want to continue our walks. We had a very strong bond.

Jacob
Jacob
29 days ago

Oh no, Vincent’s owner died? How sad 😞

Erik Lidzbarski
Erik Lidzbarski
29 days ago

I asked a friend with MEOW to help foster Max when he turns up.
A crew just finished boarding up the windows and securing the house from the elements and anyone trying to enter. It’s very sad that Michael passed away tonight. He really loved those pets and thrilled at Vince’s interactions with neighbors and passerbys.

James T.
James T.
28 days ago

So sad!!!

Rachael
Rachael
28 days ago

I live across the street and saw the whole thing. It went from a little smoke to both floors and porch on fire in less than 5 minutes. I’m so sad for Michael and grateful that Vince was rescued.

Madeleine Zee
Madeleine Zee
28 days ago

If Vincent needs a home, I would be more than happy to adopt him! He’s such a sweet heart and me and my partner would give him a good and loving home. Please reach out if you hear he needs a home <3

Brandi
Brandi
28 days ago

If anyone knows of a way to celebrate Michael’s memory, please share. I never met him but he brought so much joy by sharing his dog Vince with the neighborhood.

J J
J J
27 days ago

Thanks for the details – so sad

Willis
Willis
27 days ago

So sad to hear. I didnt have many interactions with Michael as I was living next door to him over the past 2 years but he always had a smile and told me that Vince loved when I came over. It was my favorite part of the day when I would walk by and spend a few minutes on their porch hanging out with Vince and sometimes the kitty would join us too. Their entire family will be dearly missed as they brought me much joy over the years. God bless

Erik Lidzbarski
Erik Lidzbarski
26 days ago

I spoke with Michael’s sister Jane last night and shared details as we knew them about the fire and told her some other amusing recent tales of Michael, Vince and Max. She was very happy to hear of the many ongoing impromptu and supportive small gatherings of neighbors who stopped by to lay flowers and/or chat about Michael. One neighbor just to the south said she’d lived there nearly 15 years and met more people in the neighborhood since the fire than she has the entire time previously. Michael, Vince and Max are still bringing the local community together. All shared the same sorrow for the loss of Michael and his home, and concern for his pets. 

His sister said Michael’s family is definitely supportive of and would surely participate in a community gathering at Polish Home to remember and honor Michael. It would be wonderful if Vince could join us, as he’ll be living next door with Max the cat and their adoptive family. Michael’s family will provide photos of Michael through the years and an overview of his truly remarkable life which started back East in New York and his successes in business, real estate and philanthropy here in Seattle.

Michael’s two sisters and brother will gather in New York this weekend to share the tragic new with their 97 year-old mother. Michael has a very expansive family back East who loves him dearly and always pleaded through the years with their adventurous son, brother, uncle, cousin, nephew to return home, but he truly loved Seattle and the neighborhood he settled into on Capitol Hill. 

We will post notices of the gathering to remember Michael at his house, at Polish Home, around the neighborhood and on this site as the plans come together. All will be welcome who wish to pay their respects and to further honor Michael by meeting his/your neighbors who Michael knew individually but would love to have know each other.

Sala, our fabulous Polish Home bartender, in consult with Michael’s family will create and name a drink in remembrance of Michael adding it to our list of favorite drinks of our other beloved community members. We know he savored good bourbon (and Polish food), so that’ll be the starting point. 

Na Zdrowie, Michael! We’ll miss you. 

kristi j.
kristi j.
20 days ago

I lived in this house right out of college (I think we were renting it from Michael?) from 2002-2003, and loved it dearly. Drove by this morning and the sight brought tears. I am happy to hear that the beloved pets are ok. I remember when living there we heard that it was one of the oldest homes on Capitol Hill. Does anyone know further info about that? My roommate there was a professional carpenter and he said he found evidence of old-growth wood used for construction or something (but this memory is 20 years old). Bless!

Katia
Katia
20 days ago

I went over to walk Vince yesterday and was devastated to see there had been a major house fire and that Michael didn’t make it. Relieved to hear that Vince and Max are OK and re-homed. Can anyone give me contact info for who has them? Vince and I have created a bond over time as I regularly took him for walks and brought treats. I imagine he would be happy to see me after this devastating event in his life and I know I’d love to see him as well. Thank you!

Katia
Katia
14 days ago
Reply to  Katia

I’ve just spoken with Vince and Max’s new guardians and the kids are doing great in their new home in Columbia City. The couple have known Michael for years, had taken Vince for several days ea week to their place on Michael’s suggestion, and Michael had asked them to care for Vince and Max should something happen to him, so they are. Thanks to all for your love and care of these two neighborhood icons!