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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UPDATE: Power outage blamed on vault fire

February 11th, 2018 Tracy Posted in Fire, Utilities, White Center news 2 Comments »

7:29 PM: Out of power? You’re far from alone. 3,000-plus customers in White Center and south West Seattle, because of a vault fire near 22nd/Roxbury. (And Roxbury is currently blocked by the Seattle Fire response.) We’re covering the outage on partner site West Seattle Bloggo here for the latest.

8:41 PM:
The City Light map shows just about everyone should be back on. If you’re not, please be sure they know – 206-684-3000.

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FOLLOWUP: Adjacent house fires on 11th SW in White Center both ruled arson; $10,000 reward fund available

January 26th, 2018 Tracy Posted in Crime, Fire, White Center news Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: Adjacent house fires on 11th SW in White Center both ruled arson; $10,000 reward fund available

Thanks to commenter LS for reporting that signs were up at both recently burned houses on 11th SW, declaring the fires to be arson and announcing a $10,000 reward fund.

11025 11th SW, above, is the scene of the most-recent fire – two in the same night, actually – following one at 11031 11th SW, below:

King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West tells WCN, “We suspect both are arson. The second house had a fire inside; then after it was put out, we had to go back for a fire on the deck. No suspects at this time. Of course we don’t know if the two house fires are related, but based on timeframe and locality it appears that way.” If you have any information about either or both, call the number on the signs – 800-55-ARSON.

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White Center house fire under investigation

January 23rd, 2018 Tracy Posted in Fire, White Center news 2 Comments »

Thanks to Syd for the tip on this – a house fire on 11th SW, south of SW 112th, is under investigation tonight, in the same block where another house caught fire days earlier. The house is vacant, and no injuries are reported. Investigators at the scene weren’t commenting on the possible cause; we’ll be following up tomorrow.

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UPDATE: Truck fire near 15th/98th

September 13th, 2017 Tracy Posted in Fire, White Center news Comments Off on UPDATE: Truck fire near 15th/98th

6:01 AM: The helicopter that woke many up in White Center/South Delridge about an hour ago was NOT related to last night’s Guardian One search in Top Hat – it was a TV helicopter (the one shared by KING/KOMO, according to our flight tracker) checking out an early morning truck fire that briefly brought a sizable response to 15th/98th. North Highline firefighters tell us a refrigerated truck trailer was destroyed by the fire, and are still trying to find out how it started. No injuries. Also some damage to an adjacent building, including power lines – we’ll be going back once it’s light for a closer look.

6:19 AM: Photos added.

9:58 AM: The investigation continues:

In the photo above, you can see the blackened area where the fire spread to the building by which the trailer was parked.

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House fire in North Highline, 1 hurt

May 5th, 2017 Tracy Posted in Fire, North Highline Fire District, Shorewood, White Center news 1 Comment »

(Adapted from original as-it-happened coverage on partner site West Seattle Blog – smoke was visible for miles around)

Thanks to Colby for that photo, the first we received from a house fire this afternoon near 26th SW and SW 109th.

The smoke had subsided by the time our crew arrived at the fire scene – thanks to those who tipped us via text and voice on our hotline (206-293-6302). This is in the North Highline Fire District’s jurisdiction; other departments including Seattle Fire sent units as mutual aid (including Engine 11):

Big response overall.

One person suffered minor injuries, we’re told, and was treated at the scene. By 3:45 pm, the fire (at 10907 26th SW) was out or close to it, our crew reported, and investigators were on the way to try to find out how it started.

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VIDEO: RV burns in White Center, nobody hurt

August 19th, 2016 Tracy Posted in Fire, White Center news 4 Comments »

(WCN reader video)

ORIGINAL REPORT, 5:42 PM: Maybe you saw the smoke – that RV caught fire on SW 100th by 14th SW in downtown White Center this afternoon.

(WCN photo by Patrick Sand)

North Highline Fire responded, and Seattle Fire sent an engine to help. Our crew at the scene was told nobody was hurt, and the cause is under investigation. You’ll want to avoid the intersection a while longer as they work to get the damaged RV in a position where it can be towed.

ADDED 7:06 PM: Thanks to the reader who sent the video we’ve added atop this story. You can see why the side of White Center Square (which opened six years ago) was scorched; at least one window shattered from the heat, at Aaron’s Bicycle Repair, reader Gill tells us – you can see it behind the RV in Gill’s aftermath photo:

Cory sent this photo from the other side of the burned RV:

Gill reports Fire District 2 (Burien) was on scene too and investigating.

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STAGE 1 BURN BAN: Now in effect in unincorporated King County

August 19th, 2016 Tracy Posted in Fire, King County, Safety, White Center news Comments Off on STAGE 1 BURN BAN: Now in effect in unincorporated King County

Just announced by the county:

The King County Fire Marshal today issued a burn ban in unincorporated areas of the county to prevent wildfires during the hot, dry conditions. In addition, the National Weather Service has issued a Fire Weather Watch for this weekend.

This is a Stage 1 burn ban and applies 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 can pose a hazard so please use extra caution and consideration this weekend.

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 feet in diameter

-Be located in a clear spot free from any vegetation for at least 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 and equipment capable of extinguishing the fire.

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

The King County Fire Marshal will post updates on the burn ban on the Department of Permitting and Environmental Review website.

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UPDATE: Fire at White Center apartment complex

May 9th, 2016 Tracy Posted in Fire, White Center news Comments Off on UPDATE: Fire at White Center apartment complex

3:07 PM: Thanks to Jonathan for the top photo and tip: North Highline firefighters are at an apartment complex near Steve Cox Park this afternoon after flames tore through at least one unit. Our crew is at the scene now waiting to talk with the incident commander to find out more about what happened; so far, we know only that no one was seriously injured. More to come.

(WCN photo)
3:11 PM: NHFD tells us that three units were damaged by the fire – they don’t know yet what started it. No one was hurt; one resident went in to rescue his cat, which is also OK.

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UPDATE: Burglary, fire at Cascade Middle School

February 18th, 2016 Tracy Posted in Crime, Fire, Schools, White Center news Comments Off on UPDATE: Burglary, fire at Cascade Middle School

arsonsign

6:43 AM: From King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West:

Just before 1 am, King County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a burglary alarm at Cascade Middle School in the 11200 block of 10 Ave SW in White Center.

When deputies arrived, they found at least 2 windows had been broken out and it appeared the suspect(s) were still inside the school. The suspect(s) ran as deputies entered the school.

While searching the school, deputies found 2 small fires that had been set. (North Highline Fire District) responded to extinguish the fires.

King County detectives are investigating the burglary and arsons and said the school had been broken into once before within the last couple of weeks. A fire had been started at that break-in also.

cascadecars

10:12 AM UPDATE: We went by the school, which is open. Out front, we saw both the “ARSON” sign shown atop this story, and the multiple school-security cars in the photo above this line. We’ll be following up with KCSO later today.

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