Updated 1:55 a.m. The Ballard Bridge reopened just before 2 a.m., two hours after a major fire burned underneath the south end of the structure.
My Ballard reader stringsofviolets posted this photo of the fire, taken about 11:45 p.m. on Wednesday. “We heard a bunch of pops and thought it was gunfire and then almost immediately heard all the sirens, looked out the window and we could see the glow of the flames,” she said.
The fire burned directly under the bridge at what appears to be a storage area.
As the smoke began to clear, from our vantage point, we could see several boats and a truck charred in the fire, as well as the side of the bridge. Seattle Fire asked that the Seattle Department of Transportation be called in to inspect the bridge before it reopened, which explains the two-hour closure.
Police officers responded quickly, shutting down the bridge in all directions — even the pathways leading up to the bridge — because the heavy smoke was obscuring traffic on the south side.
My Ballard reader Andrew sent us this photo, showing the smoke blowing towards Ballard. The original call came in at 11:25 p.m., and this photo was taken at 11:50 p.m. The fire was declared out shortly after midnight. A fire department spokeswoman says four small boats and a truck were damaged. Fire investigators are working on identifying what sparked the blaze.
Several My Ballard readers posted information in the forum during the fire, both from the scanner and from visual accounts. And here are a few more photos. (Thanks Silver, stringofviolets, Charles and Andrew for your help!)
You can see the blackened section of the bridge. Spotlights were shined on the side of the bridge to inspect the damage.
MyBallard reader Charles sent us this photo of the view from Ballard.
Fire units lined the shoreline on the south side of the Ship Canal.