Crews worked overnight after the former Borracchini’s Bakery building in Seattle’s Rainier Valley neighborhood was engulfed in flames Friday afternoon.
The Seattle Fire Department said the building, near Rainier Avenue South and South Walker Street, was vacant when they responded shortly before 4 p.m. About four hours later, they said the fire was under control and that an investigation is underway. On Saturday morning, the investigation was continuing. The fire department said the fire was knocked down and firefighters were monitoring the scene.
The incident was upgraded to a two-alarm fire but response was reduced to a few units Friday evening, with just a few crews on-site to fully extinguish the fire overnight.
Firefighters will continue to pour water from the outside because of structural issues making it unsafe for them to enter the building, said SFD spokesperson David Cuerpo. The fire significantly destroyed the building causing the roof to collapse as well as the south and east walls, he said.
One firefighter was taken to Harborview Medical Center with minor injuries, according to SFD. No other injuries were reported.
All north- and southbound lanes on 23rd Avenue from South Walker Street to South Bayview Street were blocked for several hours, according to the Seattle Department of Transportation.
A plume of dark smoke from the building could be seen from miles away Friday afternoon. Officials advised residents or employees in the area to close their windows and doors.
Borracchini’s Bakery & Mediterranean Market closed in 2021 after nearly 100 years in business, due to the effects of pandemic restrictions. The long-standing family business was founded by Italian immigrants, Mario and Maria Borracchini, in 1922.
Community members and former customers expressed sadness and reminisced about Borracchini’s on Twitter. One said they were “heartbroken” when the bakery closed. The fire, they said, was “just salt in the wound.”