Building under demolition partially collapses in downtown Seattle

SEATTLE — Seattle fire crews were called to downtown Seattle after a building under demolition partially collapsed.

A Seattle Fire spokesman said a construction crew was demolishing a building at Third Avenue and Columbia Street when a wall began to overhang onto Third Avenue and was inching toward power lines used by King County Metro Transit around 3:30 p.m.

The Seattle Department of Transportation closed Third Avenue between Columbia Street and Marion Street.

Seattle Fire said the power lines are the primary reason the street is closed.

“If the building collapses and severs these lines, these lines can fly because there’s high tension on them, so as a safety precaution, we want to make sure we close access on both sides of Third Avenue just in case these high voltage lines come down,” said David Cuerpo with Seattle Fire.

Seattle City Light is working with King County Metro to shut off the power lines.

There are no reports of injuries.

Metro Transit said buses are being rerouted in between Madison and Cherry Streets through the end of service Saturday night.

Riders should use regular posted stops on Third Avenue, north of Madison Street or south of Cherry Street and expect delays.

A 36-story, 807,000-square-foot office building will be built on the site, according to Pacific Northwest real estate website The Registry.

Jeff Cleator, president of Lease Crutcher Lewis, the General Contractor for the construction project, released the following statement:

“At about 3:30 p.m. on Saturday July 17th, RW Rhine Demolition was performing building demolition on the corner of Third Avenue and Columbia Street.  The work plan was to pull the building’s exterior wall panels into the project site using an excavator. During the operation, a section of wall on Third Avenue pivoted unexpectedly and swung into the right of way.

“For safety reasons, sidewalks and all lanes of Third Avenue were closed prior to beginning the operation.  There are no injuries and no significant property damage.

“The crews are currently on site working with King County Metro, Seattle Fire Department, Seattle Street Use and other agencies to address the situation and restore the public right of way as soon as we can safely do so.”