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Blown transformer sparks Magnolia townhouse fire

March 26th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Update 6:35 p.m. Seattle Fire confirms what we observed at the scene — the fire was caused by a blown transformer, which dropped a live wire against the side of the building. The wire hooked a metal box, which you can see in the far right of this photo, taken at 32nd Ave. and Lynn St.:

Update 6:25 p.m. We spoke to the couple who rents the unit that caught fire. “The transformer blew up over there,” said Joe, who lives in the four-story corner unit. He said he heard another explosion moments later, but there was no signs of fire. “I didn’t think anything of it,” he said, until he saw smoke coming out of the vents a few minutes later.

“All of a sudden, smoke starting coming up quick, and then the alarms went off,” he said. “Then I heard someone screaming, everyone evacuate, so we grabbed our dogs and got out pretty quick.”

Fortunately, everyone was able to escape safely.

“It was such an explosion, I mean the lights, it was beyond description,” said Joan, another resident in the building. “There were two of them. And then it sounded like something was being dragged. I thought someone had hit it.”

Update 6:15 p.m. Here’s a video we shot shortly after firefighters arrived:

UPDATE 5:45:  We are told that power is now back on in the area around the fire.

UPDATE 5:20PM:  Here is the latest from the scene.  People living in the area heard a couple of loud booms that originated on the east side of the building.  We are told that many people living in the area heard them too. 

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The residents who rent the unit say that a few minutes after the booms they saw smoke coming out of the vents in their townhome.  The husband and wife and their two dogs evacuated.  They were not injured but one of their dogs has a preexisting medical condition and is at the vet. 

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The fire was caused by a transformer explosion. City Light is checking all poles in the area.  Wires that came down as a result of the explosion hooked on the side of the building.  No word on why the transformer blew.

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The fire was tough to fight because it was in the wall of the townhomes.  Firefighters brought out saws and ladders to battle the blaze.

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UPDATE 5:10pm:  We are told that power is out in parts of the Magnolia Village as a result of the fire.  Will have more information soon.  Thanks to Steven Smalley for the photos from the scene.

UPDATE 5pm:  There is very little smoke now as firefighters get the upper hand on this fire.  It may have been caused by a blown transformer.  No injuries have been reported.

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Firefighters continue to work on the fire at the townhomes in the Magnolia Village.  They say the fire was within a wall inside one of the units.

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Smoke from this afternoon’s fire can be seen from in this shot by reader kkennell.  We have crews on the scene and we will keep updating.

Updated: 4:45 Seattle Fire is responding to a fire at 3201 W. Lynn Street, near the Village.

These are brand new townhouses. Smoke is billowing from one of the units, which a woman on the scene says she’s renting. She tells us that a transformer blew just before the fire and she believes this has to do with electrical. There are wires down on the east side of the building and are up against the side of the building.

Seattle City Light is on scene. The call out was just after 4 p.m. to 2209 32nd Ave W, but the address was corrected once on scene. We’re on scene and will have more soon.

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  • peter pertrov

    Great Job by the Roof Crew. You know, “that was my Brother up there ….”

  • peter pertrov

    Great Job by the Roof Crew. You know, “that was my Brother up there ….”