Parking Garage Fire and Death in U-District

View of the press briefing.
View of the press briefing.

In the midst of focusing on the election results I noticed a tweet via the Seattle-PI’s website that there a body was found next to a parking garage which had some sort of fire in the U-District. I quickly checked the Seattle 911 logs, saw it was still an active call, and fetched Eddy and Tom to go check it out.

When we arrived, it was about an hour after the event occurred, and the area was fairly well covered with police and detectives, with some news crews who weren’t bashing down the doors of local mayoral candidates. There were a couple of local residents hanging around and after talking with those folks as well as listening in to a small press briefing, here are some relevant pieces of information:

– Summary: There was some sort of explosion or fire on the 3rd/4th floor of the parking garage at 43rd and 11th. During or soon after this event, an unidentified male jumped or fell from that height while was on fire, and landed in the alley. He either died upon impact or soon afterwards. When we got to the scene an hour later, there were some homicide detectives there, as well as a large SFD dropcloth concealing the body.  While we were there, we talked with some people and listened in to a press briefing.

– A witness who walked by right afterwards saw the unfortunate soul who had fallen from the 3rd/4th floor of the garage on fire, and there were at least 8 foot flames from the individual. At first he thought it was some sort of burning man type thing with a mannequin, but then realized it was a person.

– One person who lived across the street had a police scanner and he was able to glean that it was initially called as a structure fire, and after they went through the garage it was degraded to a car fire, and finally a rubbish fire. He also mentioned that the garage was closed after 5PM. (The fire occurred at around 9PM). He also said that from what he could tell, they initially swept through the building before realizing that there was a body outside and in the alley.

– The Public Affairs Officer said that there was gasoline, the fire was under further investigation, and there were some additional details at the scene which she could not yet reveal. Overall, she was (understandably) vague and basically confirmed the location, and the very basic facts.

– A editor in one of the local news vans showed a few of us coverage right after they got there and before the cloth went out, and from what we could see (and he said) the body was basically left where it was and they died fairly quickly.

I don’t know what happened or what the circumstances were, but I imagine that falling from the 4th story of a building while on fire is quite a horrible way to go.

Here are some pictures. The lighting was quite terrible, and I was using my dental drill lens.

Concealing Cloth
Concealing Cloth
Another view of the briefing. You can kind of see the location of the event in the upper right hand corner of this image.
Another view. You can kind of see the location of the event in this image. It occurred in the upper right hand corner of the image.

One thought on “Parking Garage Fire and Death in U-District

  1. i walked past the scene just after it happened as the body was laying in the alley on flames. pretty gruesome sight. charred body was laying face-up with with arms out-stretched upwards. there was also a fire burning on the 3rd floor of the parking garage (apparently related). two citizens rushed up with fire extinguishers and doused the body until the flames were out but you could tell that the person was already deceased. fire department showed up a few minutes later but after a quick check by the first responders they put a sheet over the lifeless body as fellow fire fighters extinguished the fire on the 3rd floor of the parking garage. i assume a case of self-immolation. very sad way to go. may they now be at peace. blessings for their soul!

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