SUNDAY: Greenbridge gathering to grieve, post-fire

July 10th, 2021 Tracy Posted in Fire, Neighborhoods, White Center news No Comments »

(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 No Comments »

(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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Fire callout in North Shorewood

March 22nd, 2021 Tracy Posted in Fire, North Highline Fire District, White Center news 1 Comment »

Thanks for the tip! Big callout this morning for a residential fire near 22nd SW and SW 104th. However, firefighters told us at the scene that it turned out to be a small fire, no injuries.

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Early-morning fire at vacant house on 16th SW

October 15th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Fire, White Center news Comments Off on Early-morning fire at vacant house on 16th SW

Big callout early this morning for a fire on 16th SW, just south of the gutted site that was Yarington’s Funeral Home. This time, the fire was in a vacant house.

Firefighters at the scene told us no one was hurt, and damage was limited to the back side of the house. We’ll be following up on the cause.

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FOLLOWUP: About the Viva Mexico fire

October 5th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Fire, Restaurants, White Center news Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: About the Viva Mexico fire

(WCN photo, last Tuesday)

We finally have followup information on last week’s fire at the Viva Mexico restaurant in White Center. As we surmised at the scene last night, it was a small fire, according to a spokesperson for the >North Highline Fire District. It started in the kitchen; when crews arrived just after 11 pm, black smoke was coming from inside, and they found the fire on a cooktop. It had melted some plastic that dripped onto a floor mat, in turn igniting a fire on that mat. But the firefighters were able to extinguish it with a small amount of water. Along with North Highline and Burien apparatus, they were assisted by Tukwila Ladder 354.

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UPDATE: Fire callout at Viva Mexico

September 29th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Fire, Traffic, White Center news 4 Comments »

11:25 PM: 16th SW is closed at SW 106th because of a fire callout at Viva Mexico restaurant. On our way to find out more.

(WCN photo)

12:10 AM: When we got there, what had been a huge callout – more than 15 units initially – was down to just a few. No sign of smoke or flames, or exterior damage, so not a major fire. We will seek more followup info later today.

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BURN BAN: Now in effect for unincorporated King County

July 27th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Fire, Weather, White Center news Comments Off on BURN BAN: Now in effect for unincorporated King County

Just out of the inbox:

With dry conditions in the forecast, King County Fire Marshal Chris Ricketts has issued a Phase 1 burn ban for the unincorporated areas of King County starting today. The ban will remain in effect until further notice.

This is a Phase 1 burn ban and applies to all outdoor burning. In addition, the National Weather Service in Seattle has issued a Red Flag Warning for parts of Western Washington, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., today due to potential high wildfire conditions. During such periods recreational fires in affected areas shall be ceased.

Even when the Red Flag Warning is lifted, King County’s Phase 1 burn ban restrictions will still be in place and apply to all outdoor burning, except for small recreational fires in established fire pits at approved campgrounds or private property with the owner’s permission. Recreational fires still pose a risk, so their use shall be limited and respected accordingly. Ricketts says recreational fires must:

-Be built in a metal or concrete fire pit, such as those typically found in designated campgrounds; and not be used as debris disposal
=Grow no larger than three (3) feet in diameter
=Be located in a clear spot, free from any vegetation for at least ten (10) feet in a horizontal direction, including at least 25 feet away from any structure and allow 20-foot vertical clearance from overhanging branches
-Be attended at all times by an alert individual with equipment capable of extinguishing the fire

Ricketts added that because we are still experiencing a pandemic, residents should follow social distancing guidelines, wear face coverings, and stay six feet apart. They can also consult Public Health – Seattle & King County’s hot weather tips during a pandemic.

For properties located within cities, please contact your local jurisdiction for requirements. This ban remains in effect until further notice.

The King County Fire Marshal reminds residents that it is every individual’s responsibility to help prevent fires that destroy lives, property, and our wildland. For more information, visit the Department of Local Services Fire Marshal’s website.

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FOLLOWUP: Suspect charged in arson at ex-funeral home in White Center

July 20th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Crime, Fire, White Center news 6 Comments »

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

This afternoon, the former Yarington’s Funeral Home in White Center is just a burned-out shell and piles of charred debris. And a 35-year-old man is in jail, charged with setting the 2-alarm fire in the early hours of July 8th. Matthew Robert-David Hicks is charged with first-degree arson and second-degree burglary, his bail set at $200,000.

The King County Sheriff’s Office announced Hicks’ arrest today, though he has been in jail since Thursday night, two days after we broke the news that the fire was ruled arson. The charging documents say Hicks has “a lengthy history of crime”; King County Jail records show this is his sixth booking in less than a year (his record, however, appears to be mostly misdemeanors). We recognized his name because he was arrested in connection with a big White Center fire early last year, but released without charges.

The probable-cause documentation from the new charge against Hicks says he has been on investigators’ radar since the morning of this fire. An investigator who recognized him “from other fire events in the area” saw him kitty-corner from the fire scene that morning, standing near the gas station/mini-mart. The investigator says the next day, a private security guard watching the still-smoldering site told him that a woman had come by early that morning and said a man named “Matt” had been bragging about starting the fire. The investigator subsequently learned the same woman had told the same thing to firefighters at the scene the night after the fire. Soon thereafter, a sheriff’s deputy contacted the investigator, saying he was with Hicks and should come talk to him.

Though Hicks denied starting the fire, he talked with the investigator about having been in the building befooe the fire. Once the investigator was able to get onto the site, he determined those were details that only would have been known by someone who had been there. The investigator also found two places where the fire had started, neither with any potentially accidental sources of ignition.

The probable-cause narrative goes on to say that he tracked down the women who had said “Matt” was bragging about starting the fire. She said she was an acquaintance and that they both lived unsheltered. She also said “Matt” seemed to have “mental issues” and was known for talking to himself. She also said he had a street reputation for being “a pyro” and that she had witnessed this in an area park a year or two earlier, with Hicks playing with matches.

From there, the probable-cause document concludes by noting that when Hicks was arrested, he “fought with officers.” Also noted: The burned building was last appraised at more than $800,000.

Hicks is scheduled for arraignment on July 30th.

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FOLLOWUP: 2-alarm White Center fire ruled arson

July 14th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Crime, Fire, White Center news Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: 2-alarm White Center fire ruled arson

(WCN photo from last Thursday, as fire flared up for a second day)

Last week’s fire that gutted the former Yarington’s Funeral Home in White Center has been ruled arson. That’s what King County Fire District 2 Chief Mike Marrs tells WCN. The two-alarm fire drew firefighters and apparatus from multiple departments last Wednesday (WCN coverage here), and flareups brought firefighters back the next day; no one was hurt. Investigators are not commenting on anything else about the fire, except to say it’s a “very active investigation.”

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UPDATE: Early-morning 2-alarm fire at former Yarington’s Funeral Home in White Center

July 8th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Fire, White Center news 2 Comments »

(WCN photos)

7:20 AM: Thanks for the tip. Another fire at the former Yarington’s Funeral Home at 16th/107th, and this one is much bigger than the one this past spring. The online 911 log shows the first callout was at 4:30 am. We’ll be on scene shortly.

7:31 AM: Our photographer spoke to the public-information officer on scene. No injuries. But it’s a two-alarm fire and other departments are here assisting North Highline. No word on the cause.

7:59 AM: County records show the property (and a parcel immediately south, 1 1/3 acres total) sold back in January for $3.7 million to an out-of-state real-estate investment firm.

6 PM: We talked to PIO Shauna Sheppard again tonight – she said investigators haven’t been able to get in and start looking for the cause yet, because the fire isn’t entrely out. (We went by and indeed, as the photo above shows, firefighters were still putting water on the building a short time ago.)

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Big response, small fire at Yarington’s Funeral Home in White Center

April 15th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Fire, White Center news 1 Comment »

Big response but ultimately it turned out to be a small fire at Yarington’s Funeral Home at 16th/107th this past hour. We headed there to check it out after a tip and some units were already leaving; we stopped by the North Highline Fire Station shortly thereafter and they told us it turned out to be a small fire toward the building’s rear. No injuries were reported.

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UPDATE: 2-alarm fire in White Center ruled arson

October 6th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Fire, White Center news 9 Comments »

(Reader photo)

3:24 PM: Thanks to Aaron for the tip. The big fire callout is for a commercial property on the west side of downtown White Center, 17th/98th.

3:58 PM: Reader photo added atop the story. The fire has gone to 2 alarms.

(WCN photos from here down)

5:26 PM: Talked with firefighters at the scene. The building is 9811 17th SW, the old Atlas Electric building, just south of the dental building; records show it was sold earlier this year. Nobody in the building when the fire started; nobody injured. The cause remains under investigation. Firefighters expect to be on scene for a w more hours.

6:50 PM: More photos:

ADDED MONDAY: The King County Sheriff’s Office tells us this fire has been ruled arson. If you have any information, call the Arson Tip Line – 800-55-ARSON.

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About the helicopter over North Shorewood

June 24th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Fire, Helicopter, Shorewood, White Center news Comments Off on About the helicopter over North Shorewood

First it was Guardian One, as tweeted below, and then TV following up:

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FOLLOWUP: Arson suspect released

March 26th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Crime, Fire, White Center news 10 Comments »

(WCN photo, last Wednesday)

We’ve been checking on the status of the 34-year-old man arrested after last Wednesday’s big fire near 14th/107th. At his first hearing, his bail was set at $50,000. We had checked with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office about whether he had been charged; apparently charges were not filed today because, a check of the jail register shows that he was released from jail Monday night, with the docket notation “conditional release.”

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UPDATE: White Center brush fire spreads to building; 1 arrested

March 20th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Fire, White Center news 2 Comments »

(Thanks to Gill Loring for smoke-plume photo)

3:39 PM: All that smoke south of downtown White Center is from what started as a brush fire and has spread to a building.

It’s east of 16th SW and south of 107th. No injuries reported.

3:50 PM: Still smoky. Our crew reports that 16th SW is now closed between 110th and 112th because of the smoke.

4:13 PM: Departments from other areas responded to assist North Highline FD, including Seattle.

9:22 PM: Two updates – 16th SW had reopened by the time we checked back around dusk. Also, investigators say this was arson, and a suspect is in custody – a 34-year-old man. Three firefighters were injured in what was eventually classified as a three-alarm fire.

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UPDATE: 2-alarm apartment fire in North Burien

January 22nd, 2019 Tracy Posted in Burien, Fire, White Center news 1 Comment »

ORIGINAL 6:27 PM REPORT: A reader asked us about all the sirens they could hear from White Center and we subsequently found out a 2-alarm apartment fire is burning in North Burien, at Ambaum and 122nd. Even Seattle Fire has sent units for “mutual aid.” No other info so far but avoid the area!

ADDED LATE TUESDAY NIGHT: Regional media report one death in the fire. It was started by “smoking material” and considered accidental, according to investigators. 25 survivors are getting help from the Red Cross.

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House fire on 28th SW in North Highline

August 12th, 2018 Tracy Posted in Fire, White Center news 1 Comment »

North Highline and other fire departments fought a house fire in the 10200 block of 28th SW this afternoon. (Thanks to everyone who texted us about this – 206-293-6302 text or voice is our 24-hour hotline.) The incident commander told us at the scene that no one was hurt and they don’t believe anyone was in the house when the fire started; they were investigating the cause.

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