White Center businesses reopening after destructive fire

Aug 30, 2021, 7:10 AM | Updated: 10:53 am
White Center fire...
A fire in White Center in late July. (Skyway Fire)
(Skyway Fire)

The White Center business district that was hit by arson nearly two months ago turned into a fundraising block party Sunday.

That fire was set at a gay bar but spread quickly to nearby businesses.

No arrests have been made, but there is some progress for the businesses. Some of them are reopening.

The block party is a sign, according to the attendees, of how close and caring this community is. It was a nice welcome in this White Center business district that has had its share of adversity.

“This is their home away from home,” said Alvin Jansuy of Beacon Hill. “You come out to your local neighborhood, your community for support, your sense of ownership, I guess.”

That sense was made stronger by the arson that tore through the businesses in early July.

“They’re like a huge part of this community,” said Erica Bush of White Center. “And we were horrified that it happened. So it’s really, really great to see how people have responded to coming out and supporting them.”

“The building definitely burned down,” said Sharon Lei. “But the passion and love to serve the community has not.”

Lei helped organize the party. She was about to open her bubble tea business when the fire broke out.

“Our goal here is just to kind of bring vibes to White Center,” she said. “You know, bring that positivity. See that music. Everyone’s having fun. Bring some love, some joy, some smiles.”

That was sorely lacking that terrible night nearly two months ago.

But now the Lumberyard — the strip’s only gay bar and the arsonist’s target — will soon reopen; many of the adjacent businesses will as well.

“Luckily, a lot of them are slowly finding their places,” said Michale Farrar, Lumberyard’s co-owner. “I mean, the tattoo place found a place. One of the hair salons did. The Mexican market found a new place. So, you can, I guess, burn us down. But we’re going to come right back.”

And his 8-year-old son approves.

“I’m just excited that the whole community got together again after all the destruction,” said Markus Adams-Farrar, “and like everything that’s been happening in the world.”

Many of the businesses had GoFundMe accounts. But not all got what they needed to start back up.

The organizers said all of the proceeds from the block party will go to businesses that need it.

They added it’s a way to restore what the fire could not destroy.

Written by KIRO 7 TV reporter Deborah Horne

Local News

Kshama Sawant recall, threatening emails...
Nick Bowman

Attempt to fast-track bill leads to heated back-and-forth between Seattle councilmembers

An attempt from Councilmember Kshama Sawant to fast-track a bill to require contractors to pay parking costs led to a contentious back-and-forth.
13 hours ago
Climate Pledge Arena...
MyNorthwest Staff

Climate Pledge Arena set for grand opening, Seattle Kraken debut

Climate Pledge Arena will open its doors for the first time under its new name this week, with a pair of concerts and the Seattle Kraken's home debut.
13 hours ago
Gadsden flag...
Nick Bowman

Police watchdog to investigate photos of SPD vehicles adorned with Gadsden flags

The Office of Police Accountability is opening an investigation into photos circulated on social media of SPD vehicles adorned with Gadsden flags. 
13 hours ago
religious accommodation...
Nick Bowman

Washington State Patrol terminates 127 employees over vaccine mandate

Washington State Patrol has terminated 127 employees in the wake of the newly-implemented COVID-19 vaccine mandate that took effect on Monday. 
13 hours ago
Nicole Jennings

More staff in hospitals reporting vaccination, but some losses still likely

Reports of vaccination are growing among staff of the state's hospitals, but there will likely still be cuts to services caused by staffing shortages.
2 days ago
school, vaccine...
Stephanie Klein

Seattle school district reports 99% COVID vaccine compliance

Seattle's school district says the "overwhelming majority" of its staff has shown proof that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles


How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Courtesy of JWatch Photography....
Experience Anacortes

Summer Fun Activities in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
White Center businesses reopening after destructive fire