Flames and smoke from a two-alarm fire at a vacant commercial/warehouse building filled the Kent skies and impacted train commuters early Friday morning, Dec. 9 near Kent Station.
Firefighters responded at about 4:04 a.m. to a building at 105 W. Smith St., just east of the Kent Station parking garage and west of the BNSF railroad tracks, according to Puget Sound Fire spokesperson Pat Pawlak.
“I know that when it was originally dispatched somebody thought the roof fire was at Kent Station,” Pawlak said during a phone interview. “We could see flames from Fourth and Smith Street and you could see flames coming down Canyon Drive.”
Nobody was injured in the fire. It took firefighters about two hours to extinguish the fire, Pawlak said.
Sound Transit canceled three Sounder trains from Seattle to Lakewood/Tacoma between 6:05 and 7:55 a.m. and canceled one train from Tacoma to Seattle at 7:20 a.m., according to Sound Transit emails.
“The building was vacant,” Pawlak said. “A portion was used for storage by a contractor but no businesses were working out of the building.”
Apparently, nobody was in the building, a former feed store, when the fire broke out.
“Not that we know of,” Pawlak said. “It has been said there had been homeless going in and out of there, but as far as we know there was nobody in the building.”
Pawlak confirmed that homeless have used the vacant building.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, Pawlak said.
“The building is a total loss,” Pawlak said. “The owners are working with the city for demolition permits.”
The 13,033 square-foot, wood-framed warehouse was built in 1917, according to King County property records. BNSF Railway owned the property prior to selling it in 2016 to Kent 105 LLC for $185,195. The county appraised the property at $480,700 this year.
”While it was definitely a scary situation, I am so glad that no injuries were reported,” Kent Mayor Dana Ralph said in her Dec. 9 emailed weekly update. “I want to thank all of the first responders for their incredible job isolating and extinguishing the fire and keeping people safe.”
Approximately 50 firefighters were on the scene from eight fire engines and three ladder trucks , Pawlak said. Kent-based Puget Sound Fire was assisted by Tukwila Fire Department, Renton Regional Fire Authority, Valley Regional Fire Authority, King County Fire District 20 (Skyway), King County Medic One and South King Fire and Rescue.
Road closures by the city during the fire included First Avenue North between West Smith Street to West James Street; West Temperance Street between Ramsay Way and First Avenue North; and Smith Street between Central Avenue North and Second Avenue North/Ramsay Way, according to Public Works Department reports.
Pawlak thanked residents for their calmness during the fire.
“There was an impact to the morning commute because of Sounder trains being closed down and bus service closed down,” Pawlak said. “We appreciate everybody’s patience while we were out there fighting the fire.”
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