UPDATE: Fire at White Center car lot

November 19th, 2022 Tracy Posted in Fire, White Center news No Comments »

12:21 AM: Firefighters are at what was described initially as a vehicle fire at a location on 15th SW near 106th listed on the fire lot as SK Used Cars. 15th is also blocked in the area right now as a result. We haven’t heard any detailed updates but they were calling for a fire investigator.

(WCN photo)

12:30 PM: We went by the scene a short time ago. Fire damage was in evidence, mostly involving the car in our photo above.

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UPDATE: Fire response at 28th/110th

November 3rd, 2022 Tracy Posted in Fire, White Center news 7 Comments »

3:38 PM: In case you saw the smoke and/or heard the sirens, there’s a big fire response right now at a home near 28th/110th. It was first reported as a garage fire but then grew, and the callout size was increased. Streets are shut down in the area, so stay clear for a while.

4:20 PM: That photo is from someone who was in the area in the early stage of the fire. Our crew is at the scene and tells us it is mostly out now. Nobody was hurt; the fire was confined to the detached garage, firefighters tell us. The initial report, as we heard on the scanner, came in from deputies who were in the area.

5 PM: Here’s the garage, post-fire:

7:16 PM: At tonight’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting, Deputy Bill Kennamer said the garage is used as a residence and the man who lives there was taken to the hospital with smoke inhalation.

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FOLLOWUP: One fire-damaged White Center business that won’t be making a comeback

September 18th, 2022 Tracy Posted in Fire, Restaurants, White Center news 3 Comments »

Thanks to David for the tip. One year after the Locker Room fire closed adjoining businesses too, one has announced it won’t be reopening: Bizzarro Italian Café‘s White Center restaurant. Bizzarro had been open only nine months before the fire hit. Their announcement this weekend says there were “MANY deciding factors” that led them to drop plans to reopen here, without elaborating on any of them.

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UPDATE: North Highline house fire, with smoke visible for many miles around

July 12th, 2022 Tracy Posted in Fire, White Center news Comments Off on UPDATE: North Highline house fire, with smoke visible for many miles around

11:15 AM: King County Fire District 2 just tweeted that photo from a house fire in North Highline that’s been drawing attention for the past hour-plus because of the massive plume of black smoke that went high into the sky, visible from downtown Seattle and beyond.

Photo by John Graham

This is a house in the 10400 block of 8th Avenue South, not far east of Highway 509, which is closed northbound right now because of a result. KCFD2 says no injuries are reported so far.

3:36 PM: Firefighters continue cleanup at the site and have tweeted this photo:

The freeway, meantime, has fully reopened.

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Man dies in White Center house fire

March 7th, 2022 Tracy Posted in Fire, White Center news 3 Comments »

An early-morning house fire in White Center on Sunday took a life. Firefighters responded to a house in the 400 block of SW 108th [map] around 3:45 am on Sunday (March 6th). They quickly pulled a man out of the house, says Fire Chief Mike Marrs, but it was too late to save him – the King County Medical Examiner identifies the victim as 37-year-old Steadman Mathis and says he died of smoke inhalation. Two children in the house were rescued as well and they survived. Marrs says the fire was ruled accidental. (added) Mr. Mathis was an educator who also served as tennis coach for Chief Sealth International High School, whose athletic director Ernest Policarpio describes him as “a good man.”

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REOPENING: Full Tilt Ice Cream in White Center

January 17th, 2022 Tracy Posted in Businesses, Fire, Food, Full Tilt Ice Cream, White Center news 3 Comments »

(White Center Now/West Seattle Blog photos)

Four months after the fire that gutted the Locker Room Bar and Grill, one of the other businesses affected is about to reopen: Full Tilt Ice Cream‘s flagship location at 9629 16th SW reopens tomorrow (Tuesday, January 18th). We stopped by this evening as they finished getting ready.

That wall is an example of what had to be fixed before Full Tilt could reopen – firefighters had to break through it while working to stop the fire in September. And they’re two doors down from Locker Room; the damage was even worse at neighboring Huong Xua Deli and, on the other side of Locker Room, Bizzarro Italian Café. No updates on them yet (Bizzarro is still open in Wallingford). Full Tilt will reopen with a few new touches – like this Simpsons-themed pinball machine:

Hours will be the same as they were pre-fire – 3 to 8 pm.

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FOLLOWUP: There won’t be a third fire at old Atlas Electric building in White Center

October 29th, 2021 Tracy Posted in Fire, White Center news Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: There won’t be a third fire at old Atlas Electric building in White Center

Two months after the second fire in two years at the former Atlas Electric (among other incarnations) building, what was left of it has been demolished and cleared. Thanks to Gill Loring for sending the photo after seeing the now-empty site. County records show the demolition permit was issued earlier this month, but no other development/building permits are currently pending.

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FOLLOWUP: Loans available for small businesses harmed by White Center’s July 5th fire

October 29th, 2021 Tracy Posted in Businesses, Fire, White Center news Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: Loans available for small businesses harmed by White Center’s July 5th fire

(July 5th White Center Now/West Seattle Blog photo by Patrick Sand)

Following up on part of what was mentioned at the community meeting last week, King County sent word this week that the federal Small Business Administration has declared an Economic Injury Disaster. That means businesses and organizations affected by the July 5th fire can apply for low-interest loans up to $2 million if they have suffered from “substantial economic injury” (here’s the definition, and how to apply). If you’re not eligible, the county is promising “seek out more options for other fire victims.”

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PETITION: ‘The White Center community declares our state of emergency’ with urgent call for more King County support in fires’ aftermath

October 8th, 2021 Tracy Posted in Fire, King County, White Center news 2 Comments »

(WCN photo from September 13th fire)

Announced by the White Center Community Development Association: An online petition drive has been launched to demand more support from King County in the aftermath of the recent fires. From the petition page:

The White Center Community declares our state of emergency. After five fire events within the last four months, the entire community is devastated. The fires have affected 11 beloved businesses and their employees, all losing everything in the rash of fires over the last four months. The lack of timely and effective action from our elected officials, County staff, and the Sheriff’s Department have and will continue to impact our community negatively for many years to come.

We are alone in rebuilding our businesses and community.

Business owners and neighbors have raised over $290K for fire victims ($165K to the Lumber Yard) and continue to raise funds. Elected and County staff have not offered any additional emergency funds or additional support. The business district as a whole continues to experience crime, theft, violence, and a sharp decrease in monthly revenues.

The following businesses have been impacted and devastated: Huong Xua Deli, John’s Hair and Nails Salon, The Boxing Gym Westside, La Tipica Oaxaquena, Nuggi Boba, The Locker Room, Ben Schreck workshop, Dottie’s Doublewide, Rat City Tat2, Bizzarro Italian Café, Full Tilt, and The Lumber Yard.

This petition encompasses the needs surfaced from hundreds of hours of conversations over the past four months and over the past 25 years. We need an emergency fire response plan by our elected officials and County staff NOW.

INVEST IN WHITE CENTER SO WE CAN REBUILD, THRIVE AND GROW:

– Hire private security for 8 hours overnight, 7 days a week, to be funded by King County. Invest $175,000 per year into the community, targeting damaged areas immediately.

– $2M emergency relief funding outside of DLS grants to assist fire victims and stabilize the White Center Business District’s rebuilding efforts in collaboration with community (comprehensive business district plan, re-establishing/affirming zoning, etc.) immediately.

– Businesses who do not hold or have minimal insurance coverage should automatically be qualified for a minimum of $25,000 in emergency assistance immediately.

– Create a task force of professionals, available daily, on a drop-in basis, to help fire victims navigate systems and relationships. Provide 1:1 assistance (salvage assistance, navigating insurance, and permitting processes, assessing rebuilding options, funding, re-entry etc.) until the business is able to re-enter and resume regular business hours at full capacity immediately. Provide delivery of assistance in Vietnamese and Spanish.

– Build transparency and accountability between community members and the Sheriff’s Department. Provide basic details of all Sheriff’s deputies, duties, and assignments in White Center (names and badge numbers of officers working in White Center during the 2017 – 2021 Sheriff Department budget for White Center, and patrol routes).

– Fund a position to help retain existing businesses and recruit new businesses in White Center. The position will support existing businesses going through lease renewals or re-location, and assists property owners and developers that are rehabilitating or developing buildings with retail space design, pricing and tenanting.

The petition page also suggests contacting local officials, and includes their phone numbers.

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YOU CAN HELP: Crowdfunding to help White Center’s Huong Xua Deli recover from fire damage

September 25th, 2021 Tracy Posted in Fire, How to Help, White Center news Comments Off on YOU CAN HELP: Crowdfunding to help White Center’s Huong Xua Deli recover from fire damage

(WCN photo, September 13th)

Less than two weeks after the 3-alarm fire that destroyed the closed Locker Room in downtown White Center, its neighbor to the north, Huong Xua Deli, is still struggling to recover from damage. (Our photo above shows what it looked like inside hours after the fire.) So their neighbors to the north, Full Tilt Ice Cream proprietors Justin Cline and Ann Magyar, have launched a crowdfunding page for community donations to help Huong Xua reopen. The page features this message from the deli’s owners:

My name is Kevin Bui and my wife is Phuong Nguyen. I came to the US when I was young. Growing up, I didn’t have that many opportunities and wealth. I had to work to support me and my family. Even through the struggle, our culture brings happiness and everybody together. That is why I wanted to open a small business to share some cultural foods such as Bánh Mì, Bún Bò Huế, thịt Heo Quay (Roasted Pork) and many more foods. When we inherited the business from the previous owners, everything was still the same but got slower from the pandemic. Not too long ago, our Roasted Pork Sandwich got rated #1 as the best Bánh Mì in the Puget Sound from The Seattle Times. I could say this was a blessing. Our business got more customers coming from all over the state. Everything was going well until a fire that was spread to our Deli. There were 3 fires that happened in a span of 5 months, but this time, Hương Xưa Deli was affected and damaged by the water and fire retardant. Our friendly neighbor from Full Tilt, started this fundraiser to help us rebuild our deli. Our family’s income depends on this business. Anything will help, thank you all for your support, I hope we can rebuild a new Deli as soon as possible located in the spot where we are right now to serve to our lovely community in White Center.

You can donate by going here.

P.S. Bizzarro Italian Café, south of the Locker Room, remains closed too. King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. Tim Meyer told WCN that investigators believe “smoking material” started the fire, as was the case with the April fire that closed the Locker Room.

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FOLLOWUP: Crowdfunding to help twice-burned Locker Room’s owners

September 13th, 2021 Tracy Posted in Businesses, Fire, White Center news Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: Crowdfunding to help twice-burned Locker Room’s owners

(WCN/WSB photo by Patrick Sand)

As reported in our original coverage of this morning’s three-alarm White Center fire, it’s the second time in five months that flames have torn through the Locker Room at 9633 16th SW – and this time, it’s a total loss. The owners were “on the cusp of starting to rebuild,” according to a crowdfunding page set up for them. It’s been a rough year, the organizer explains: “To be closed for covid multiple times…the first fire…and now just when it was looking up to start rebuilding…another fire.” Here’s where you can donate.

P.S. Neighboring businesses Bizzarro Italian Café and Huong Xua are both boarded up tonight. Bizzarro’s website says they’ll be closed “for a few weeks”; we’ll continue checking tomorrow on Huong Xua. As for the fire’s cause, we checked again with the FD at day’s end – no determination yet.

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UPDATE: Another big fire in downtown White Center – second one this year at Locker Room

September 13th, 2021 Tracy Posted in Fire, White Center news 9 Comments »

Another big fire callout in downtown White Center – and Seattle Fire units are being sent to help. 16th SW is being blocked south of Roxbury. We’re on our way to find out more.

(WCN/WSB photos/video)

5:58 AM: As our first photo shows, the logged address is correct – the old Locker Room Tavern at 9633 16th SW, damaged by fire back in April.

6:10 AM: No word yet if anyone was injured, or if the adjacent businesses are damaged.

This is the third major commercial-building fire in White Center in a little over two months, after the July 5th fire that gutted seven businesses a bit further north on 16th SW and the fire at the old Atlas Electric building on September 1st.

6:18 AM: The fire’s not out yet – still visible flames and smoke inside the building.

6:34 AM: Public-information officers on scene say this is a 3-alarm fire – they’ve called in the extra help because of the proximity of other businesses. (video added, briefing by PIO Pat Pawlak:)

They’re working to try to keep it from spreading to the adjacent businesses (Bizzarro Italian Café to the south, Huong Xua Deli to the north). No injuries reported.

8:07 AM: After a break to return to HQ to upload video, our crew is back at the fire scene. Some of the responding units have been dismissed. We talked to a Bizzarro Italian Café rep, who says they’re closed Mondays anyway so they’ll be evaluating any effects. Same goes for Full Tilt Ice Cream two doors down – owner Justin Cline tells us there’s some water damage but they’re also usually closed Mondays, so they have time to deal with it. 16th, meantime, is likely to stay closed another two hours or so.

9:04 AM: Lot of cleanup to be done inside Huong Xua (above). Meantime, more than three hours after the fire started, firefighters are still on scene:

12:08 PM: 16th SW has reopened.

12:35 PM: We just checked back with Fire District spokesperson Shauna Sheppard: No cause determined yet.

1:31 PM: Another update from Sheppard: Early indications are that the fire was NOT deliberately set, but the investigation continues.

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UPDATE: Fire in Top Hat

September 1st, 2021 Tracy Posted in Fire, Top Hat, White Center news 1 Comment »

3:22 PM: Another notable fire response – this time to 1st SW and SW 108th in Top Hat. It’s logged as a brush fire. Seattle Fire units are being summoned to help North Highline FD.

5:55 PM: This did not turn out to be as big as it sounded. It appeared to have been in a front yard.

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UPDATE: Second 2-alarm fire in 2 years at vacant White Center building

September 1st, 2021 Tracy Posted in Fire, White Center news 4 Comments »

(Added: Video by Rob Jacobs, just before firefighters arrived)

8:45 AM: Thanks for the tips. There’s a big fire in White Center – the fire-response log says it’s a commercial fire near 17th SW and SW 98th [map]. Homes are being evacuated west of there. We’re on our way to find out more; avoid that area.

8:55 AM: We’re on scene. This is the long-vacant commercial building between the Gerber auto shop and dental office.

9:10 AM: No reports of injuries so far.

9:21 AM: We talked to firefighters at the scene, Most of this is “knocked down” but there’s one hot spot in debris inside the building that’s still smoldering, so that’s where their attention is now. They confirm no one is hurt. Meantime, checking property records, the exact address for the building is 9811 17th SW.

9:39 AM: The building’s past incarnations include Atlas Electric and the White Center News newspaper; it was listed for sale last year and sold early this year.

10:05 AM: Thanks to the readers who note this building also caught fire two years ago; we covered that here – the 2019 fire was ruled arson, We’ll be checking back at today’s scene in a bit.

11 AM: Just back from there. Still smoldering; streets still blocked. The Gerber auto shop next door is closed while they assess potential damage, as the north end of their building is adjacent to the one that burned.

ADDED WEDNESDAY EVENING: We went back late in the day – the building’s now largely just charred debris:

No word on the cause yet; we’ll check again tomorrow.

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FIRE AFTERMATH: White Center Block Party benefit set for August 29th

August 2nd, 2021 Tracy Posted in Businesses, Fire, How to Help, White Center news Comments Off on FIRE AFTERMATH: White Center Block Party benefit set for August 29th

Set your calendar:

Almost a month have passed since the arson that tore through part of the heart of downtown White Center. Businesses are still working to get back open, some in new locations. Today (graphic via @WhiteCenterPride) there’s word of a big party in four weeks to help – be there!

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SUNDAY: Greenbridge gathering to grieve, post-fire

July 10th, 2021 Tracy Posted in Fire, Neighborhoods, White Center news Comments Off on SUNDAY: Greenbridge gathering to grieve, post-fire

(WCN photo, Friday)

Sunday at noon at Greenbridge Plaza, all are invited – here’s the announcement:

This event is being organized by The Boxing Gym Westside. It is meant to be an opportunity for everyone in the White Center community to come together in a spirit of love and healing. A space where we can grieve the loss of the spaces we have held so dear by celebrating them and looking forward.

There will be live drumming with Otoqui Reyes of Hijos de Agueybana as well as other local artists.

**This is a free event**

The Boxing Gym Westside is organizing this event, but please feel free to check the list below for ways that you can contribute to whichever of the businesses speak to your heart.

Please do not let an inability or lack of desire to make a donation keep you from joining us.

This is a casual gathering with no bathrooms provided. Please account for that and also consider that we will be in a neighborhood with many homes surrounding the space – let’s be mindful of the energy we are bringing into that space and let’s also be sure to clean up after ourselves.

Additionally, have a mask handy and please plan to follow all state guidelines for masking, etc.

Ways to donate via crowdfunding:

*Here’s one for the Boxing Gym
*Here’s one for staff of the affected businesses
*Here’s one for Nuggi, the boba-tea shop that was opening soon
*Here’s one for La Tipica Oaxaqueña
*Here’s one for Dottie’s Doublewide (for new owners who were preparing to reopen)
*Here’s one for John’s Hair and Nails
*Here’s one for Rat City Tattoo

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FOLLOWUP: Fire that destroyed 7 White Center businesses now reclassified as arson

July 9th, 2021 Tracy Posted in Businesses, Fire, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: Fire that destroyed 7 White Center businesses now reclassified as arson

(Also published on partner site West Seattle Blog)

(WCN/WSB photo, Monday)

Thanks for the tips. We’ve confirmed with the King County Sheriff’s Office that the fire which gutted the LumberYard Bar and seven other businesses in downtown White Center early Monday is now being investigated as arson. Though the original tentative determination was that it was likely accidental, KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Tim Meyer tells WCN that they received “new evidence” that led investigators to “reclassify it as arson.” Though the LumberYard has posted on social media that “This most likely is also a hate crime,” Sgt. Meyer would not speculate on a potential motive. Anyone with any information should contact KCSO.

We just went over to the fire scene to see if we could find out more; no one’s around, but we did photograph the signs asking for tips – 800-55-ARSON. That’s reiterated in this statement just sent by the White Center Pride Committee:

The White Center Pride Committee is deeply disturbed and saddened to learn that the fire at The Lumberyard Bar on July 5th has reportedly been reclassified from an electrical fire to arson. The possibility of this being a hate crime targeted at an LGBTQI+ gathering space is also being investigated. Not only was The Lumberyard Bar destroyed, but also 7 other businesses, many of which were minority owned.

We will continue to stand with all of the businesses and individuals that were impacted by this horrible act. Our community is strong and will never back down in the face of adversity. We implore anyone with information to reach out to the King County Sheriff’s Office with any information at 206-263-2070 or 1-800-55-ARSON.

The fire broke out after 1 am on Monday. No injuries were reported. But along with the LumberYard, it devastated neighboring businesses The Boxing Gym, La Tipica Oaxaqueña, John’s Hair and Nails, Rat City Tattoo, Nuggi (which was soon to open), and Dottie’s Doublewide (which was getting ready to reopen)

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FOLLOWUP: Scenes from 16th SW, as White Center fire victims clean up and carry on. Plus, ways to help

July 6th, 2021 Tracy Posted in Fire, How to Help, White Center news Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: Scenes from 16th SW, as White Center fire victims clean up and carry on. Plus, ways to help

36+ hours after the devastating fire in the heart of White Center’s business district, we found determined business owners at work this afternoon, cleaning up and carrying on. Above, La Tipica Oaxaqueña is doing business outside their fire-damaged space.

Out front of the LumberYard Bar, where investigators say the fire started in the basement (though as of this afternoon they still hadn’t announced exactly how), we found proprietors Nathan and Michale:

They told us they’re grateful for the overwhelming support they’ve received, including crowdfunding that’s already maxed out at $100,000+. They told us they’re determined to stay in White Center, though they’re looking around for a new space.

Also seen on 16th: A county inspector:

The county was working to determine which spaces were safe to reoccupy and which were not. Those that aren’t will have to get an independent engineer to assess safety once repairs have been made.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: As mentioned above, the LumberYard has maxed out on GoFundMe – but other campaigns have not. Here are links:

*Here’s one for the Boxing Gym
*Here’s one for staff of the affected businesses
*Here’s one for Nuggi, a boba-tea shop that was opening soon
*Here’s one for La Tipica Oaxaqueña
*Here’s one for Dottie’s Doublewide (that page notes it had new owners who were preparing to reopen)
*Here’s one for John’s Hair and Nails
*Here’s one for Rat City Tattoo

Also benefiting the new owners of Dottie’s, Endolyne Joe’s in West Seattle (9261 45th SW) plans to donate 50 percent of its 4-9 pm proceeds this Thursday (July 8th).

Other fundraisers? Please let us know – whitecenternow@gmail.com – so we can report them here and on partner site West Seattle Blog!

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UPDATE: Fire in downtown White Center guts LumberYard Bar; major damage to neighboring businesses too

July 5th, 2021 Tracy Posted in Businesses, Fire, White Center news 6 Comments »

2:19 AM: County and city firefighters are working to fight a building fire at 16th and Roxbury. It was originally dispatched as a city callout so we’ve been covering it on our partner site West Seattle Blog here.

(White Center Now/West Seattle Blog photos by Patrick Sand)

2:48 AM: We’ve confirmed the fire is centered in the building holding the Lumberyard Bar and Rat City Tattoo. Firefighters are still working to extinguish it.

4:15 AM: The fire’s not out yet. City and county crews are still there, fighting it from both sides of the building.

No injuries reported; we’ll have more followup information later this morning.

ADDED 10:43 AM: We went back this morning – in the view above, you are looking into the building from the alley side. Fire crews are still there:

We talked to Chief Mike Marrs of Fire District 2, which includes White Center and the rest of North Highline. The investigator finally got into the building a few hours ago to try to determine the cause.

Other businesses to the north were damaged – including broken glass. Firefighters were expected to be on scene, with 16th remaining closed in that block, until noonish. We will check back again.

NOON: A crowdfunding page is set up to accept donations for the LumberYard.

12:54 PM: More photos of the aftermath, inside adjacent businesses too:

We’ll add any other crowdfunding links we find out about. (Added: Here’s one for the Boxing Gym. Here’s one for staff of the affected businesses. Here’s one for Nuggi, a boba-tea shop that was opening soon.)

1:47 PM: Fire District 2 public-information Shauna Sheppard says they do NOT believe this was caused by fireworks. So far they’ve traced the origin to the LumberYard’s basement, and they believe it was accidental, though the specific cause remains under investigation.

ADDED TUESDAY: More crowdfunding – this time for La Tipica Oaxaqueña, and for Dottie’s Doublewide (that page notes it had new owners who were preparing to reopen).

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VIDEO: Early-morning fire at Locker Room in downtown White Center ruled accidental

April 21st, 2021 Tracy Posted in Fire, White Center news Comments Off on VIDEO: Early-morning fire at Locker Room in downtown White Center ruled accidental

(WCN photos by Patrick Sand)

6:23 AM: Thanks for the tips. An early-morning fire has damaged the Locker Room Tavern at 9633 16th SW in downtown White Center. The fire callout went to two alarms because of the location, but adjacent buildings were not damaged, we were told at the scene. Nobody was hurt; oost of the damage was on the roof and in the attic, according to the public-information officer for North Highline Fire District and neighboring fire departments, Pat Pawlak (updated: here’s video of his briefing):

No indication yet how it started – fire investigators were still on the way, and engines/trucks were blocking 16th while we were there, though the fire’s out.

This was first reported just after 5 am.

2:56 PM: Fire investigator Scott Case tells WCN, “The cause of the fire was improperly discarded smoking materials in the planters along the front of the building.”

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