On the night of December 24, a massive fire destroyed what remained of 7 Gables, a charming, cozy, historic movie theater that was suddenly closed in June 2017.
Two days after the old theater and its wonderfully poshlost mural of a distant magic kingdom, purple hills, sunset-orange scrubs, and a prince and princess on a bridge made of carved white stones went up in smoke, an ordinary house near the Mount Baker Station (on 3623 27th Avenue South) was seen on fire. Flames; jets of water; black smoke rising above Beacon Hill; ambulances and fire trucks whizzing by Link trains. 24 hours later, these images of fire destruction and first responders were repeated by yet another fire that burnt to the ground a number of small businesses in a Lake City strip mall.
Why so many fires over the holiday season? Is this unusual? Are we reading way too much into it? Or maybe the fires have something to do with this winter's usually warm temperatures, a result of anthropogenic climate change? Or what about the pandemic? Maybe the number of squatters in abandoned buildings has increased due to a homeless crisis worsened by the economic crash of March 2020? Or maybe people are staying home more? And this situation increases the chances of fiery domestic accidents? Didn't something like this happen to the noted writer Ijeoma Oluo this fall? Her house was destroyed by one of the many domestic-related fires that erupted around the city?
Some of y'all have heard about the fire and we truly appreciate all the love you've sent. We're alive, and that's what matters. We will recover in all other ways.
Please check your smoke detectors ❤️ pic.twitter.com/m3Z42Yn5lp
— Ijeoma Oluo (@IjeomaOluo) September 18, 2020
I asked the Seattle Fire Department if the three holiday fires were connected directly or indirectly, and Kristin Tinsley, SFD's Senior Communications Manager, had this to say:
We have no evidence to indicate that these fires are related to one another. The south Seattle fire (12/26 at 3623 27th Ave. S.) was ruled accidental, and the 7 Gables fire was ruled undetermined. As you may have seen on our Twitter, the Lake City 2-alarm Fire was just ruled as incendiary (intentionally set).
Having a 3-alarm and 2-alarm fire occur within a short time frame is not typical, however as said above, we don’t believe they are related.
So, it is unusual for so many fires to happen in such a short period of time, but as far as the evidence goes, this is nothing to be alarmed about.