Historic Burien Cabin Burns Down; Was Malfunctioning Fire Hydrant To Blame?
Tuesday night (Nov. 9), around 8:30pm, an old cedar cabin located on the north end of Maplewild Ave SW in Burien, burned to the ground.
Part of the reason it was a total loss may be because after initially hitting the flames with water from a tank, the fire truck could get no more, due to a malfunctioning fire hydrant.
Initial reports indicate the blaze may have been started by a heat lamp in the cage of a pet reptile.
According to KING-TV:
The home was fully engulfed by the time they (firefighters) arrived, but the flames weren’t the only problem. They ran out of water.
Firefighters immediately hit the fire with 500 gallons of water from their tanker, and then went to the nearest hydrant. But when they turned it on, it didn’t work.
Molly Kongslier’s family has owned the property for 103 years. She claims the cabin served as a ticket booth in 1962 to Seattle’s World Fair.
KING also says that on Wednesday (Nov. 10), crews from Water District 20 fixed the fire hydrant by 3pm.
We contacted Doug Leudeman, Battalion Chief for the Burien/Normandy Park Fire Department, and this is what he said:
There was a hydrant issue at this fire. When our crews arrived on scene they set up to use the hydrant closest to the house that was burning. They dropped a “dry line” from the truck and drove to the fire. They were going to use the 500 gallons they carry on board to do a quick knock down and fight the fire and have the next engine that arrived hooked up to the “dry line” to the hydrant. then open up the hydrant and start the water flowing to the engine at the fire before the 500 gallons was used up. This is a very common practice and it typically works very well allowing for continuous fire fighting from the time we arrive until the fire is out. When the next engine arrived they hooked the supply line that was going to the truck at the burning house to the hydrant, when they went to open the hydrant the nut on the top turned freely and would not open the hydrant. At that point the crews went down the street about 300 feet and hooked up to the next one, successfully supplying water to the Engine that was fighting the fire. As you would expect all this does take some time so there was a delay, but the engine at the fire was able to keep the fire from spreading to any neighboring structures with the 500 gallons they had on board. They did run out of water for a short time but they did get the supply established and finish extinguishing the fire as quickly as possible.
Here’s KING-TV’s report:
[PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Burien/Normandy Park Fire Department]