News Blog for Seattle's Wallingford Neighborhood


Two-alarm fire burns Wallingford restaurant, house

December 7th, 2011 · 17 Comments

Nearly 90 firefighters battled a two-alarm fire in a restaurant and home on 45th near Densmore Wednesday evening. Fortunately, everyone escaped the blaze in time, including an elderly woman living in the house immediately behind the Kitaro Sushi Bento restaurant. Firefighters say most of the fire was concentrated in the house.

“There were a large among of flames coming from almost all four sides of that structure,” said Lt. Sue Stangl to the gathered media, explaining that the two-alarm response was because the building was so close to Molly Moon’s to the west and Dr. Falcone’s dentist office to the east. “It was really critical to get firefighters at all those structures, one to make sure everyone was out, and to make sure the fire doesn’t spread.”

Video from KOMO’s helicopter shows the early moments of the fire

“The flames were shooting from the top of the roof, and I could see a big, giant, black cloud of smoke,” said Stephanie, a neighbor who was walking nearby when she saw the responding fire trucks. “And I just ran here, because I was curious what was going on.”

When we arrived, the street was already packed with onlookers, many snapping photos on their phones. “I’ve never seen so many firefighters in one place,” said one man to his friend. Fire units stretched several blocks along 45th, hoses criss-crossing from just about every direction: 13 fire engines and 6 ladder trucks were sent to the blaze.

The restaurant and the home sustained heavy damage, and the dentist office next door was damaged, too. “The windows were broken out, the front and back door were broken out, the side of the building by the restaurant is burnt, it looks like part of our roof is burnt, too,” said Dianne, the office manager for Dr. Falcone. “We just had a new roof put in, $100,000 worth of remodel, and we’ve been in three weeks.”

Perhaps miraculously, a Molly Moon’s employee told us it was not damaged in the fire, and it reopened for business tonight. “We’re OK here in Wallingford! Our shop did NOT go down in the flames!” says a message on the ice cream shop’s Facebook page. “We’re open until 11 tonight. come say hi! p.s. THANK YOU SEATTLE FIREFIGHTERS!” Only a narrow alley separated it from the fire.

Lt. Stangl says it’s unclear if the fire started in the home or in the restaurant. An investigation is underway.

Firefighters attacked the blaze from the narrow alley to the west, the alley behind the home (above) and on the roof. Seattle Fire says dispatch received many 911 calls reporting the fire at 6 p.m. By 6:45 p.m., only light smoke could be seen from the burned-out home. Seattle Fire Chief Gregory Dean responded to the scene, as well.

Stay tuned for more updates on the story on Thursday. Earlier updates:

Updated 7:45: Lt. Sue Stangl with Seattle Fire tells us that when firefighters arrived on scene they found flames coming from four sides of the building, including the house behind the Kitaro Sushi Bento and the restaurant itself.

Double the resources were dispatched to this structure fire because of the close proximity of buildings in the neighborhood. An elderly woman lives in the house behind the restaurant and she was out safely, according to Lt. Stangl.

Once on scene, firefighters evacuated nearby buildings. Dr. Falcone’s dentist office next door did sustain some damage. Unsure if Molly Moon’s, which is just west of the fire, sustained damage.

Updated 7:10 p.m.: A fire chief on the scene confirms to us that there are no injuries.

Earlier: A massive response tonight to a fire in the heart of Wallingford tonight.

The call first came out at 6 p.m. with reports of flames shooting from the roof near Kitaro, 1624 N. 45th St.

On the scene we see that the fire is on the top floor behind Kitaro on 45th and Densmore.

Kiro7 is reporting this is now a two-alarm fire.

Roads in the neighborhood are closed off.

From King County Metro:

Route 16 is rerouted in both direction due to a blockage at N 45th St and Woodlawn Av N, until further notice.

Use the stops on Stone Way N south of N 40th St or on N 45th St east of Wallingford Av N.

We are on the scene and will continue to update this.

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