University Place home frequented by squatters, then destroyed in fire concerns neighbors

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. — A home in University Place was destroyed in a large fire that came dangerously close to neighboring homes.

It was the latest in a string of fires at vacant buildings across Western Washington, including two arsons in Seattle.

The fire at the home on Cirque Drive West and 55th was called out around 4 a.m. Tuesday, according to West Pierce Fire & Rescue.

The home has been vacant for quite some time, but there is evidence that people were living there illegally, according to firefighters and neighbors.

“We’ve had fires back here in the past,” Tony Pool, who lives by the property, said on Tuesday. “Squatters come back here in this house, so it was only a matter of time. Whatever they have to burn, they burn. If they stay the night in the house, there’s no electricity.”

Pool is one of several neighbors we spoke with, who said squatting at the property has been an ongoing problem.

“This is our backyard. We all have kids in this neighborhood and it’s scary,” Pool said. “Had there not been moisture, this would’ve been a lot worse... Seven houses on this side, they’re all aligned with these trees. Every one of them would’ve caught on fire.”

Pool also said he’s called 911 several times because of small fires on the property.

“(Property owners should be) making sure that they secure the property. And whatever they plan on doing with this — if it’s a demo and they were going to knock it down and build, let’s have that happen sooner than later. Because what’s happening is neighborhoods are putting up with the brunt of it,” said Pool.

This comes after a vacant building burned down in the University District neighborhood of Seattle on Monday. One person was found dead inside the building, according to the Seattle Fire Department. 

On Friday, a vacant building in the Chinatown-International-District burned down. Investigators have determined it was arson. 

Comments on this article