Building fire on Lake City Way Friday closes road for hours

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Lake City Way was closed for a major fire response.
Ten hours later, the southbound lanes were open. SDOT.

At 6:15am on Friday morning, March 3, 2023 Seattle Fire responded to a fire fully engulfing a vacant building in the 14000 block of Lake City Way NE. 

All lanes of Lake City Way from NE 137th to NE 143rd were closed during the response. At 11:45am one northbound lane was opened. By 4:30pm the northbound lanes were open but southboard lanes remained closed. At 8pm all lanes were open. At 9pm an excavator arrived to demolish the building.

David Cuerpo, Seattle Fire Department, recapped the dramatic fire in SFD's "Fire Line" blog.

Photo courtesy Seattle Fire Department

SEATTLE — On Friday morning, March 3, 2023 around 6:15am, the Seattle Fire Department’s Fire Alarm Center received calls reporting thick black smoke and flames coming from a two-story vacant commercial building on the 14000 block of Lake City Way NE.

The first firefighters on scene confirmed the entire building was fully involved in the fire with high heat and flames extending through the roof. In response, the incident commander prohibited all firefighters from entering the building due to concerns of structural collapse.

Crews maintained a defensive position by pouring water on the fire from a safe distance away from the burning building. They prioritized protecting adjacent buildings from the fire as well as preventing falling debris from causing structural damage.

Within an hour of arriving on scene, the roof started to collapse followed by the eastern wall.

Too dangerous to enter, firefighters poured water from a safe distance.
Photo courtesy Seattle Fire

Neighboring residents and businesses informed us that water runoff from fighting the fire began to overwhelm the storm drains and posed a flood risk. In response, we requested additional resources, including Seattle Public Utilities, to help mitigate the pooling water and divert further runoff away from the impacted buildings.

SPU was called in to help control flooding at nearby buildings. Photo courtesy Seattle Fire

Firefighters determined the fire was fully extinguished at 7:34pm.

The building, which was vacant, was already slated for demolition prior to the fire. Seattle Fire worked with the property owner to expedite an excavator to demolish the building because the remaining walls were at risk of collapsing onto the streets and walkways.

By 9pm an excavator arrived on scene to demolish the building.

The incident is under investigation, and no injuries were reported.


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