Fire could cause infamous Seattle building to collapse
SEATTLE -- The site of Seattle's worst mass murder has gone up in flames - and a dark piece of the city's history could come down at any moment.
Fire crews are trying to keep a safe distance but they are also trying to keep any flare-ups from spreading to nearby buildings.
The Seattle Fire Department has moved their people and most of their equipment out of what they call the collapse zone.
There are a few businesses in the building's street level but the upper floors of the building are condemned.
Those floors aren’t safe for anyone to walk on and firefighters fear the fire and water could cause this building to fall.
The fire department said the two-alarm started around 4PM in an abandoned building along the 660 block of King Street.
The fire hit the old Wah Mee building, site of the Wah Mee massacre - the worst mass murder in Seattle history. Three men - Tony Ng, Willie Mak and Benjamin Ng - went into the basement of an illegal gambling club and hogtied, robbed and killed 13 people. Tony Ng, who claims he didn't participate in the actual shootings, was paroled in October. Benjamin Ng and Mak are serving life sentences without parole.
Firefighters swarmed the scene but the building’s deteriorating condition is making it a tough fight.
“As floors get older and they’re not stabilized that means you could fall through them,” said Chief Gregory Dane. “Same thing with the roof and everything else, we’re not putting people there just so there’s no safety and there’s no life hazard.”
Scores of onlookers watched as ladder trucks pumped a huge amount of water from the air.
“We’re concerned the longer we put water on this building that the walls may collapse out,” Dane said.
Firefighters also battled the blaze from adjacent rooftops. The building does have an internal firewall but the blaze ripped right through it.
The huge plume of smoke could be seen from most places in Seattle.
Power has been shut off to more than 500 customers as a safety precaution for firefighters.
Nearly 30 people have been evacuated from three nearby buildings and the Red Cross is working on opening an emergency shelter.
Fire officials will remain on the scene for a very long time putting out hotspots overnight.
The cause of this blaze is still a mystery. Seattle Fire Department officials are investigating the cause of the blaze.