A fire in a Seattle house has shut down all but two of the city’s fire departments and sent the population scrambling for a new source of power.
A total of seven people were confirmed dead and at least 15 others missing.
The fire began at about 9 p.m. on a house in the 800 block of Northwest 14th Avenue.
A few hours later, the Seattle Fire Department announced that its fire department had been placed on alert and was responding to the scene.
About two hours later it was called back to the building.
It was the same fire department that had responded to the blaze in April in the 1600 block of East Pike Street.
That blaze had started after a woman suffered a medical emergency and collapsed in her apartment, causing smoke to billow into the building, said Sgt. Ryan Pfeiffer, a Seattle Fire Capt. with the Seattle Department of Emergency Services.
The smoke quickly spread through the building and into the neighboring neighborhood, where a number of people were staying.
That area was also evacuated.
By 11 p. m., firefighters had extinguished the blaze, but a fire crew that had been responding to a call at a nearby home saw smoke and began searching for a source of energy.
They saw smoke coming from the basement, Pfeitzer said.
A couple of crews went up to the basement and found a large, burning pile of metal.
They used their ladder to pull it out and found the remains of the woman who was trapped in the rubble, PFeiffer said, adding that the woman had suffered multiple injuries.
A few hours after the fire started, the city had issued a public health alert for the neighborhood and all residents were asked to stay indoors and avoid windows and doors.
The alert had been in place since March 3, when a fire destroyed the home of a couple who were in the building at the time.
It was only the latest in a series of fires in the area that have put residents and businesses at risk, including the May 2015 fire that burned down an apartment building, destroyed the building of an elderly couple and left hundreds of residents homeless.
A large, heavy fire broke out in the 1700 block of Southeast Washington Street on March 16, destroying the home and killing a firefighter.
It killed a woman who had been sleeping in the apartment.
A woman and her child were also injured in that fire.