by: Joanna Small Updated:SEATTLE —
A woman is dead after an overnight fire in South Seattle and firefighters say the house is so unstable they still can’t go back inside to determine the cause. It happened in the 3700 block of Cascadia Avenue South in the Mount Baker neighborhood at 1 a.m. Sunday and burned for hours.
Massive flames couldn’t keep firefighters from entering the home initially; neighbors told them two people live there.
“Yeah we all know each other,” explained Al Johnson, who rushed outside when he smelled smoke.
Firefighters found one young woman on the top floor and pulled her out but couldn’t revive her. They then searched the house once fully before heat forced them out.
“One of the firefighters has a thermal imager and it was reading 1,200 degrees,” Seattle Fire Department spokesperson Kyle Moore explained.
The house was still smoldering as the sun came up and neighbors started to show up—shocked.
“Oh it’s very disturbing,” said Ken Bulen. He lives across the street and knows both women who live there.
Bulen and the other were concerned for the 81-year-old homeowner; she was not the woman discovered inside. Firefighters couldn’t go back for a second search. Bulen heard and hoped she was away for the weekend. By early afternoon, the fire department was able to confirm that.
Neighbors say they are grieving for her knowing how much she will be grieving the loss of the woman they say was her friend and tenant.
“This is going to be a real shock to her,” Bulen concluded.
Fire officials tell KIRO 7 there’s $2 million in damage to the home.