A fire at a homeless encampment underscores the public safety issues that Seattle’s Chinatown-International District (CID is faced with, an on-going issue that has forced multiple businesses to close or move away from the neighborhood.
And as the cooler, fall weather arrives, concerns are growing that these fires are going to occur more frequently.
Journalist Jonathan Choe posted a video on his Twitter account (@choeshow) showing the flames burning trees along the I-5 corridor near 8th Avenue South and South Weller Street on Oct. 23.
Several tents were torched, along with nearby trees, and no one was hurt.
The building that used to house Tsue Chong Company is close by. Building owner Tim Louie told the Northwest Asian Weekly that he intends to sell the property as the situation has not improved.
We reported in July a petition by the neighborhood to ask the Washington State Department of Transportation and the City of Seattle to clear the land after a different fire in the homeless encampment behind the length of the block.
Louie told us that “nothing has been done so far.”
Kim Ngan of Vuu’s Beauty School describes her business location as being the “beginning of the homeless village” and that “it’s a horrible time” to be a business owner being surrounded by homelessness.
She said they “are not homeless anymore, they are criminals.”
The fire on Oct. 23 burned approximately 500 square feet of the encampment with flames reaching 30 feet high, according to the Seattle Fire Department (SFD).
The SFD also said no private property was damaged and that there was nothing suspicious about the fire.