Vacant building fire on Aurora Ave N in Seattle

Monday, August 21, 2023

Fire in vacant structure 120th and Aurora
Photo by Bruce Miller
By Kristin Tinsley, Seattle Fire

SEATTLE – Seattle firefighters were dispatched to a fire in a vacant structure around 10:30am on August 20, 2023. Fire apparatus responding to the scene could see black smoke billowing from the structure blocks away prior to arriving.

The building was well-involved before fire crews arrived
Photo by Bruce Miller

Engine 24 from the Bitter Lake neighborhood arrived first and reported flames visible from the exterior and heavy fire and high heat conditions throughout the structure. The fire had reached the void space and the building quickly became well-involved in fire.

Crews declared a defensive attack for the derelict building
Photo by Bruce Miller

Battalion 6 arrived at the incident location and declared a defensive fire attack due to derelict building conditions and the amount of fire present. Fire engines quickly connected to hydrants to establish a water supply and ladder trucks set up for ladder pipe operations. Firefighters also deployed hand lines to hit the fire from all angles on the exterior.

Approximately 30 minutes into the incident, the roof began to collapse, and incident command extended the collapse zone around the incident to protect members of the public and firefighters. Due to the extent of fire damage, the building was unable to be searched for possible victims.

Neighbors were warned of smoke exposure
Photo by Bruce Miller

An AlertSeattle emergency alert was issued to neighbors to warn of smoke exposure if windows and doors were not kept closed. The smoke added to already unhealthy air quality due to wildfire smoke making it to the region Sunday morning. Just after 2pm, all lanes of Aurora Ave N were reopened to vehicles.

At the height of the incident, SFD had 10 fire engines and four ladder trucks on scene, and various support and command vehicles. Fire investigators responded to the scene and have begun the investigation into how the fire started. The SFD has requested the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections to the site to conduct a building evaluation.

The building, at 12020 Aurora Ave N, was the former home of the Mekong Village restaurant and the emission testing, COVID test site.

Updated with building location 8-21-2023


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