Seattle Fire Department crews responded to a two-alarm fire at the Wayne Apartments in Belltown early Thursday.

The apartment building, among the last remaining pre-regrade structures, was built in 1890. The building achieved landmark status in 2015, but is set to be destroyed to make way for a prospective nine-floor retail-residential building.

Since the building is slated for demolition, no damage estimates were made, said Seattle fire spokesperson David Cuerpo.

While the fire was under control around 5:45 a.m., Second Avenue, Bell Street and Third Avenue were closed in Belltown for about four hours as authorities responded. All lanes reopened around 10 a.m.

Around 6 a.m., the Fire Department said only a few units would remain on scene until the fire is extinguished. Crews were in a defensive position because of the collapsed roof and were pouring water on the fire from outside the building, the department said.

Cuerpo said firefighters responded to the fire around 4:05 a.m. and found smoke and flames coming from the second and third floors. The building, which has been vacant for a while, was boarded up and crews had to pry plywood off the walls to gain entry, he said.


Once inside, firefighters learned the rooms on the third floor did not share a common hallway and the fire was spreading through the space between the ceiling and the roof.

A surviving signpost to Belltown’s origins soon will fall

Firefighters upgraded the response, evacuated the building after a search and fought the fire from the outside.

“This is one of the oldest vacant buildings in the city,” Cuerpo said.

The neighboring buildings are also vacant, Cuerpo said.

The incident is under investigation. However, due to the collapsed roof, investigators will not be able to enter the building, he said.