Seattle FD suspects ‘overheated electrical’ as cause of Ballard blaze
Just one day after a massive three-alarm fire gutted a building in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, investigators suspect they know the cause.
The exact cause of the fire, however, may never truly be known. The damage to the building is too extensive and estimated to be about $3 million. Investigators say that an official ruling on the cause will remain “undetermined.”
What is known is that the fire began near the rear of the building, at the northeast corner. It was most likely sparked by “overheated electrical in the void space between the ceiling and roof,” according to the fire department.
Insurance companies will make final determinations as to the damage. But the fire department estimates a total of $3 million in damage — $1.5 million to contents, and another $1.5 million to property.
There were four Ballard businesses in the building that are considered a total loss. They include Kitchen N Things, La Isla, SuperCuts, and Coleman Jewelers. A Pho Vietnamese restaurant next to the fire also sustained damage from the heavy smoke and water from fire hoses. A large fire wall between the pho restaurant and the jewelry shop prevented the fire from moving further. Fire crews noted that there were no fire stops in the attic of the structure. That is likely why the fire spread so quickly through that area.
Smoke was first noticed by employees at the SuperCuts in the building. They called 911 to report the fire shortly before noon on October 7.
“When crews first arrived on scene, they checked out the SuperCuts business, that’s where there was a light haze of smoke on the ceiling,” said Kristin Tinsley with the Seattle Fire Department on Monday.
The incident was upgraded to a three-alarm fire within an hour.
The apartment building behind the fire was evacuated because of heavy smoke from the blaze. Seattle Fire Department referred to this smoke as “toxic.”