UPDATE: Fatal fire in Burien Tuesday night caused by ‘smoking material’


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This post was updated on Jan. 23, 2019 with new information from the Burien/Normandy Park Fire Department:

Photo courtesy Red Cross

UPDATE: Firefighters from throughout south King County responded to a fatal, two-alarm apartment fire Tuesday evening, Jan. 22 in the 12200 block of Ambaum Blvd. SW (map below).

The first 911 calls were received at 6:02 p.m., reporting dark smoke coming from a first-floor apartment. Fire alarms warned residents to evacuate.

When firefighters arrived, they found fire spreading to all four floors of the building and reports of people possibly trapped on balconies. By working quickly, responders were able to keep the fire to the four units already involved.

  • While searching the apartments, firefighters found the body of an adult female.
  • One other adult female was treated and transported by King County Medic One after she jumped from an upper story unit.
  • A dog also died in the fire.
  • Over 50 people were initially evacuated from the building as a precaution. All but those from seven units were allowed to return to their homes. Metro Transit provided shelter for the displaced residents by bringing two large buses to the scene. Red Cross is helping the 25 people unable to return to their apartments.
  • According to the fire investigator, the fire was caused by smoking material (cigarettes, etc.) and is considered accidental.
  • The Medical Examiner’s office will provide positive identification of the deceased as well as the cause of death.
  • Agencies responding to this incident included Burien, North Highline, Puget Sound RFA, Tukwila, Port of Seattle, Renton RFA, KC Medic One, and Zone 3 Fire Explorers.

“It’s up in flames. Almost gone. 10 plus fire trucks and a ton of other emergency vehicles,” one witness told us via Facebook. “We were driving home at 6:15 p.m. when these fire trucks passed us faster than I have ever seen them fly through intersections.”

Another witness said:

“I live on the other side of the field from the back side of the apartments. I could see the entire thing and hear the screams. I’m used to hearing sirens so I didn’t think much of it at first, until I heard people calling for help. One woman in particular was screaming for help from an upper level, likely the woman who had to jump down. I felt awful being so close and not being able to actually do anything to help in that moment. Please check your smoke alarms and go over your fire escape plan with your families.”

Roads in the area were closed for the huge emergency response.

As we gather more information, we’ll update this post (refresh page to see the latest…).

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