EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been updated with new information from King County Fire District No. 2.

A suspicious fire last week at Sunnydale Elementary School has prompted the closure of Transform Burien’s location until further notice.

The blaze occurred just before 10 p.m. on Thursday night, April 18, 2024, at the school building that houses the local non-profit, and has led to the temporary shutdown of the facility.

The fire was primarily confined to the organization’s clothing bank. Unfortunately, it resulted in the complete loss of its contents due to fire, smoke, and water damage.

Fire Being Investigated

This fire is being investigated by the King County Fire Investigation Unit. Evidence was collected from the scene to try an ascertain cause.

“The origin was at a window along the east side of the building,” Ray Desmarais, Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal told The B-Town Blog. “The investigator will be working two hypothesis – accidental versus arson.”

There were clothes on hanging racks along radiant heaters at the interior of the building, and a garbage can just below the window at the exterior. The garbage can appeared out of place and was confirmed to have been relocated from the west side of the building by Highline Public Schools personnel.

Until the collected evidence is analyzed, and a full review of incident photos is conducted, the investigation will remain open.

No injuries were reported in the incident.

“We want to express our gratitude to the local fire department for their swift response and effective containment of the fire,” said a spokesperson. “The Highline School District has been incredibly supportive, assisting with initial water and debris clearing and collaborating with us on our next steps.”

Officials urged the community to stay informed about updates and reopening information by following their Facebook page.

“Already, we’ve experienced a heartwarming response from the community, demonstrating their true spirit of compassion and service,” Paul Ott, Outreach Director told The B-Town Blog. “Once we assess and formulate our recovery plan, we can communicate better with how those who are interested can help.”

Despite this setback, Ott said that Transform Burien will remain committed to its mission and will inform the community as soon as possible about the resumption of their services.

“We are determined to continue serving our neighbors and showing love to one another, bringing encouragement and hope, and embodying the resilience of the greater Highline Community,” he said.

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