After the fire

Damage to the bungalow behind Kitaro

Last night, scores of firefighters from all over Seattle descended on N. 45th Street at Densmore to put out the blaze that ripped through the top floor of the bungalow behind Kitaro shortly after 6:00pm. Thankfully, there were no injuries from the fire. King 5 reports that an elderly woman lived in the house and was evacuated to safety. At this point, the cause of the fire and where it originated is unknown. (update 1:47pm, sources from Wallingford Family Dentistry next door say that the fire was caused by an electric blanket, according to reader Jessica; but today KOMO reported that fire investigators say an electrical outlet was the cause of the fire).

By 9:00pm, Molly Moon’s posted on their Facebook page that the shop wasn’t damaged and that they were open for business again. Dr. Falcone’s Wallingford Family Dentistry, however, wasn’t as fortunate. The dental office sustained damage on the west-facing side of its first and second floors.

Neighbors around Wallingford filled the streets, many snapping photos and providing updates through Twitter. Wallyhood reader Forrest told us us, “We saw flames going on to Molly Moon’s roof and the Dentist office, and a tree branch was on fire 20 feet off the ground.” He also added that he met the woman who originally called 9-1-1:

When I heard the sirens and the helicopters, I just ran up there and was talking to people, so I ran into this woman who called 9-1-1. She said she was walking down the street and a man asked if she had a phone and she saw smoke and asked if anyone called 9-1-1 and the man said no. So she called and then they went over to the restaurant. There were definitely people in the restaurant like the cook and the owner. They could hear the cook upstairs with the fire extinguisher. The 9-1-1 dispatcher tried to put her on hold and the woman saw more flames and explained that it was urgent.

This morning, passers-by peeked through windows of Kitaro and many stopped to gaze at the charred remains of the bungalow’s top floor. Construction crews and delivery of a dumpster came by around 10:30am. Workers removed an upstairs back door from Dr. Falcone’s practice, replacing it with plywood. Now the cleanup begins.

I’d like to thank everyone who helped us piece together the story by sending us tweets, emails, and some incredible photos from the fire. I’m also touched by the neighborhood’s generosity to help anyone who might need it. Truly, this is a prime example of our neighborhood coming together during a time of crisis and it makes me proud to live in such a great neighborhood.

I’ve added pictures of the damaged buildings from this morning to our Flikr page which you can see via the slideshow below or click here to view.

  1. Kara said,

    Have they determined the cause of the fire? I was amazed at how intense the blaze was. I’m glad no one was hurt.

    Thu, December 8 at 1:19 pm
  2. Margaret said,

    I haven’t heard anything yet, but I’ll keep you posted.

    Thu, December 8 at 1:21 pm
  3. Jessica said,

    We were passing by this morning and someone asked the workers at the dentistry practice if they knew what the cause of the fire was, and he said it was caused by an electric blanket. Everyone needs to be very careful this winter, especially in these old houses with poor insulation. Remember to turn off your electric heaters before leaving the house or going to sleep.

    Thu, December 8 at 1:24 pm
  4. Margaret said,

    Thanks for letting us know, Jessica.

    Thu, December 8 at 1:41 pm
  5. Margaret said,

    I updated the post with new information. KOMO reported that fire investigators say an electrical outlet was the cause.

    Thu, December 8 at 1:54 pm
  6. Vanessa said,

    Is there a donation fund or any way to help the lady who lived the residence? I’m assuming she probably lost everything.

    Thu, December 8 at 2:36 pm
  7. Margaret said,

    I haven’t heard anything but if someone wants to start one, I’ll be happy to post about it.

    Thu, December 8 at 4:03 pm
  8. Kimberly C said,

    Sorry if I missed something in your posting, but what is the status of Kitaro? Is it a total loss? Anyone know how the owners are doing? They are very sweet.

    Thu, December 8 at 7:24 pm
  9. Margaret said,

    I haven’t had a chance to talk with the owners to find out. If anyone else has, we’d be glad to hear about it.

    Thu, December 8 at 8:47 pm
  10. North Wallingford said,

    Dr. Falcone is our dentist, and I hope he will be able to operate his practice again soon. He had just renovated it. Best of luck to him. Probably not what he was hoping for.

    Thu, December 8 at 10:09 pm
  11. Kristen said,

    Dr. Falcone is planning on being open Monday. I’d be happy to contact my neighbor’s son to see if his mom needs anything (she lived in the house). I just want to send a shout-out of thanks to all the offers of help. I’ve always loved living in Wallingford but now even more.

    Fri, December 9 at 8:44 am
  12. Dr.Ofgnillaw said,

    Glad nobody was hurt. Firefighters are so awesome.

    Fri, December 9 at 12:01 pm
  13. Margaret said,

    From the Seattle FD blog, “Fire Line”:
    Fire Investigators have determined the fire was accidental due to a faulty electrical issue. There was about $180,000.00 loss to the structure and contents. The firefighters were able to minimize the damage to the exposure buildings to $40,000.00. Molly Moons was back serving ice-cream that evening.

    http://fireline.seattle.gov/2011/12/08/blaze-in-wallingford-damages-three-buildings/

    Fri, December 9 at 1:22 pm
  14. Kristen said,

    Hi all -

    I talked to Mark whose mom was the owner of the house destroyed. Everything was a total loss in the fire and it turns out that insurance may not cover very much. I would love to organize donations but I’m currently couch surfing as my apartment isn’t going to be livable for awhile. She lost quite a bit of medical equipment that was necessary after her hip replacement and I’m guessing any donations of clothes, etc. would be appreciated. Anyway he said it was fine to give out his email address so people can get in touch directly – I hope that’s ok for people who are interested in helping. He can be reached at [email protected].

    Fri, December 9 at 4:23 pm

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