Fire consumes Greenwood commercial building


by KING Staff Reports and Associated Press

Posted on October 23, 2009 at 1:42 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 23 at 5:44 PM

SEATTLE -- Firefighters battled a three-alarm fire that destroyed four businesses at a commercial building in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood early Friday.
Fire Department spokeswoman Dana Vander Houwen said the fire was reported about 4 a.m. near North 85th and Greenwood Avenue North. About 100 firefighters spent several hours battling the flames. They managed to contain the fire around 6:45 a.m.
At one point the roof of the building partially collapsed, forcing firefighters to take defensive positions outside to prevent the flames from spreading. One firefighter sprained his ankle; no other injuries were reported.
The building housed three restaurants – C.C. Teriyaki, Szechuan Bistro and Pho Tic Tac – and the Green Bean Coffee House.
The Taproot Theater and an adjacent building with apartments on top of it sustained smoke and water damage.
"It's just horrible. It's a very sad day here in Greenwood," said resident Kimberly Young.
It looked like the theater would escape with little damage, but that changed as the morning progressed.
"They've actually torn a hole in the lobby ceiling. So, there's water coming down now," said theater co-founder Scott Nolte. "So there will not be a performance tonight. You'll have to change your tickets."
The Taproot Theater has three more performances of "Enchanted April." Friday night's show is canceled. On Saturday, the performance will be moved to the Seattle Children's Theater at the Seattle Center. If you have tickets for Friday's performance, you can use them at either show on Saturday.
The owner of Green Bean says her space was more than a coffee shop. It was a non-profit center for the community.
"It's just been such a beautiful place for people to get to know one another and receive love from one another and you're looking at it burning," said a tearful Lisa Etter Carlson.
Green Bean plans to relocate. For now, they'll focus on salvaging what they can. And while the height of the hills before them is unclear, they people affected plan on climbing it as neighbors.
"So, you find a neighbor and get an arm around them and say, 'how you doing' and we just have to walk through this together," said Randy Rowland, Pastor of Sanctuary Church and CEO of Green Bean.
A PAWS cat adoption facility also suffered some smoke damage. There were 11 cats inside at the time. All are safe at another shelter.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but firefighters say there is nothing to indicate it is suspicious.