Update Tuesday AM: No new fires overnight.
Earlier: The dumpster arsonist(s) may be taking the day off after a string of 21 fires — no new fires so far since last night — but the danger is still very real for Ballard and surrounding neighborhoods.
This photo above of Sunday night’s fire behind the Hi Life in Ballard illustrates how big these fires can get (photo shared by @curtisdickie), putting nearby buildings at risk of catching fire. Saturday night’s blaze on 85th ignited the side of the building shared by Stacia’s Pizza and Taqueria Tequila, and a few other buildings have been scorched by the fires.
But even with the risk, it doesn’t take long driving around the neighborhood to see lots of dumpsters still pushed up against buildings and under overhangs and even apartment decks. Here are a couple examples from Ballard and Fremont:
Seattle Fire is urging neighbors to pull dumpsters at least 5 feet away from buildings and overhangs and lock them up. If your apartment manager hasn’t done it, then contact them. If that doesn’t work, you may want to consider re-positioning the dumpster yourself.
Because it’s only a matter of time before one of these small fires turns into a big fire, endangering the lives of those inside.
We’re continuing to monitor Seattle Fire dispatch for new fires, and we’re posting more frequent updates on Twitter. If you see a fire — or hear lots of sirens — please send us a tip at firstname.lastname@example.org or ping @myballard on Twitter.
Here’s Seattle Fire’s full list of precautions:
- Locate dumpsters and containers at least five feet away from walls and roof eave lines. Use only metal or metal-lined receptacles.
- Place locks on commercial dumpsters or keep in secured area. Locks may be available through your contracted service provider.
- Secure business and garage areas by locking doors and windows.
- Clean up wastepaper, grasses, weeds, litter, or anything that can burn from around buildings. Clear carport areas of all combustibles.
- Trim shrubbery from doors and windows to improve visibility.
- Install motion-sensor exterior lights.
- Test fire and life safety systems, including fire extinguishers, to ensure they are working and in compliance with codes.
- Develop and practice a fire response plan.
- Keep exit ways clear of items which could slow evacuation efforts.
If you see a fire or even suspicious circumstances, call 911. If you have any information related to one of the previous fires, call SPD investigators at 206-684-8980. You can also contact the Arson Alarm Foundation Hotline at 1-800-55-ARSON or arsonalarm.org. An award may be provided, and you can remain anonymous.