Massive fire destroys south Tacoma furniture store

TACOMA, Wash. — A massive fire leveled a furniture store that has been a mainstay on Tacoma’s southside for decades.

Everyone in the 75-year-old building managed to get out safely but now begins the search for a cause.

The fire destroyed Buddy’s Home Furnishings, a chain store that has been on Tacoma’s Pacific Avenue for years.

Even with the fire out, it has been smoldering much of this day and firefighters say that is not unusual with a fire that burned as hot as this one.

The fire happened on busy Pacific Avenue just south of South 82nd Street. It was so intense, soon after the first units arrived, they had to back out and pull a second alarm.

The flames sent plumes of smoke into the air over what used to be Buddy’s Home Furnishings.

“At about 8:15 this morning, I’m a mortgage lender, I was getting ready for my day at home right,” said Katy Farrell. “And in the house chat, my roommate says ‘Buddy’s is on fire.’”

Farrell watched as Tacoma firefighters arrived.

“So, then the firemen got up and they cut a hole in the roof to ventilate,” she said. “And I saw them clear the building and they all come running out. And I’m standing in this lot, going, ‘we should probably back off a little.’

That, says a spokesman for Tacoma fire, is when they decided it was too risky to keep firefighters inside.

So, they pulled a second alarm.

“So, we had over 50 firefighters here scene,” Tacoma Fire’s Joe Meinecke. “We had to take a defensive strategy. So, we set up our aerial ladders with our master streams and some ground monitors and we were able to kind of contain the fire to the building of origin.”

Meinecke says they worked hard to protect the homes in the back of Buddy’s, too.

“It was a challenge because most of the fire was up in a space between kind of the ceiling and the roof,” Meinecke said. “And so that made it a big challenge.”

Those who live here say this is another setback for a neighborhood that is increasingly becoming home to those without one.

“It’s just, this neighborhood is not a happy place,” said Farrell.

Of course, a lot of people here think the unhoused may have had something to do with this fire.

But fire investigators tell us they haven’t begun the work of figuring out how the fire started or where.  They will likely start that work in earnest tomorrow.