Gross: Concerning trend continues at Renton homeless hotels

Apr 7, 2023, 7:05 AM | Updated: 10:39 am


(Photo courtesy of the City of Renton)

(Photo courtesy of the City of Renton)

Officials with the Renton Regional Fire Authority (RRFA) confirmed that a small fire, sparked from unidentified drug use, occurred Tuesday evening at a homeless hotel in Renton.

The location, 1150 Oakesdale Ave. Southwest in Renton, was purchased by King County in June 2021 for $28.6 million. The site had previously been home to the Extended Stay America hotel.

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“The cause of the fire was determined to be accidental,” RRFA Fire Marshal Anjela Barton told The Jason Rantz Show on AM 770 KTTH. “Due to an ignition device, likely a lighter or torch, being used in the process of using drugs, that caused combustible in the area of origin to ignite.”

Luckily, the fire was not known to have caused any injuries. Barton also confirmed that no structural damage occurred due to the blaze — combustibles in the room were the only items damaged.

“The fire was contained to the room of origin and was quickly extinguished by the fire sprinkler system,” Barton said.

Obviously, this is a concerning trend. This site also had a fire on Jan. 31 caused by someone smoking on a bed.

Renton is familiar with issues surrounding homeless hotels. The embattled Red Lion Hotel, which was subject to a lawsuit where the city sued King County, has long been a nuisance. Reports stated the hotel is vacant, while currently costing taxpayers about $330,000 per month. This site was also the subject of an arson investigation back in 2020.

Wherever issues of homelessness and drug use go, generally, fires follow. Encampment fire statistics are truly staggering. The City of Seattle is on pace to see over 1,000 fires for a third straight year.

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King County Executive Dow Constantine will continue to say this is purely a “housing problem.” It is said to be the compassionate approach — getting people off the streets. Of course, getting people into shelters is important, but it remains a piece of the puzzle.

More resources need to be devoted to treatment programs that will really address the root causes of these major problems.

Until then, taxpayer dollars will continue to literally burn up.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
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Gross: Concerning trend continues at Renton homeless hotels