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Fire strikes Pioneer Square art gallery, damaging Picasso, Rembrandt pieces

Jan 12, 2024, 7:34 PM

pioneer square art gallery...

Art pieces being removed from Davidson Gallery. (Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

A three-story art gallery in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood and many of its pieces inside were damaged in a serious fire Friday morning.

The Seattle Fire Department (SFD) received multiple 911 calls just after 6:30 a.m. Friday about a fire inside Davidson Galleries, which is located on the 300 block of Occidental Ave. South.

A post on SFD’s Fire Line Blog reported that shortly after 7 a.m., “incident command upgraded the response to a 2-alarm fire requesting additional crews for searching all floors of the gallery as well as the neighboring businesses.”

According to the Seattle Police Department (SPD), Health One, stationed nearby, was the first unit on the scene and surveyed the area to help arriving fire engines access the fire.

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The fire originally started in an alley by a person trying to keep warm, SFD said, according to KIRO 7. But it quickly spread to Davidson Galleries — which contained an estimated 18,000 works of art collected over 50 years.

The fire was brought under control quickly, but not before extensive damage was done to the building,

Firefighters entered the gallery from both the front entrance and a separate entrance in the back alley of an art gallery to pour water on the fire.

No one was found inside the building and injuries were reported.

The incident is under investigation, SFD reported.

Damage done to the gallery and the significant art inside

By 8 a.m., the fire was under control and it did not extend into any adjacent businesses. But extensive damage was done to the gallery, including some pieces that were housed inside. According to KIRO 7, paintings by Pablo Picasso and Rembrandt were among those that were damaged in the fire.

“Such an incredible loss,” the gallery owner told KIRO 7. “It’s just hard even to be able to assess the loss for the artists, the loss for the collectors — pieces that we took in in good faith are now toast.”

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The gallery was especially vulnerable as many art pieces were laid out on the floor in preparation for a move to Yesler, leaving them even more exposed to the flames.

“It invited a maximum amount of smoke damage,” the owner added.

As of Friday night, users visiting the Davidson website will see a message saying the gallery is “temporarily suspending sales while we handle an emergency situation at our building.”

The message concludes by saying they will resume their website activity shortly and anyone interested in getting in touch with the gallery can email questions at info@davidsongalleries.com.

Contributing: KIRO 7; Steve Coogan

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Fire strikes Pioneer Square art gallery, damaging Picasso, Rembrandt pieces