Firefighters douse a massive fire in downtown Bothell this morning. Aaron Kunkler

Firefighters douse a massive fire in downtown Bothell this morning. Aaron Kunkler

Flames still burning on downtown Bothell fire that gutted several businesses

Update: 1:30 p.m.

Update: 1:30 p.m.

Zulu’s Board Game Cafe owner Matt Zaremba said he left his business this morning around 2:40 a.m. As he was leaving he could smell burning plastic but didn’t think anything of it, he said.

Around 2:50 a.m. he was reached his home in Mill Creek and checked his security camera before bed when he noticed large amounts of light coming into his business and heard emergency calls coming out over emergency responder scanners.

He said he got in his car to head back to his store and could see the blaze from 10 miles away.

“It was massive, it was massive, I mean the fire was like a mountain,” he said.

Embers from the blaze had started two fires on his deck, which is across the street from the Mercantile building, and they had also landed on his roof.

Zaremba said his basement was flooded from firefighters extinguishing the flames on his building and water was leaking in from the roof, which he said he’ll have to replace in coming weeks.

Despite that, Zaremba said he hopes to have Zulu’s Board Game Cafe open by 5 p.m. tonight.

“All the important stuff, kitchen, and most of the main floor is fine,” he said.

The flooding in the basement, which is floored mainly by cement, has since been drained.

Update: 12:00 p.m.

Bothell city officials held a press conference at 11 a.m. where Mayor Andy Rheume, Fire Chief Bob Van Horne and Department of Ecology spokesperson Larry Altose addressed reporters.

Rheaume said no injuries were reported and said Main Street business would hopefully be open tomorrow.

“Bothell is resiliant, our community is strong and we will get through this together,” he said.

However, multiple business owners reported businesses along the south side of Main Street had been flooded or sustained water damage.

Governer Jay Inslee had called Rheaume and offered assistance and the Department of Ecology has a boat on the Sammamish River to monitor runoff from the fire and chemicals washing into the slough.

Contractors had also been hired to clean out storm drains which have been filled with debris from the blaze, Altose said.

Van Horne said many neighboring buildings had suffered heat and fire damage.

The cause for the fire will be investigated in the coming weeks, but due to the mercantile building being under construction, Van Horne said it would likely be difficult to pinpoint a cause.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has offered to help the Fire Marshal during the investigation, Van Horne said, due to the scale of the fire.

The rapid expansion of the blaze after it was reported was likely due to unfinished drywall and exposed timber, Van Horne said, creating an environment where the fire could spread quickly.

Rheaume said between four to six businesses were located in the Bothell Mall, which was completely destroyed.

“This one here has significant, significant damage,” Van Horne said.

Beardslee Public House and Wildwood Spirits Co. will be hosting a Kozy Corner Cafe and Zulu’s Board Game Cafe Day of Support on Monday, July 25 and Wednesday July 27. All profits from the events will be given to the business owners of the two damaged establishments.

An incomplete list of businesses in the Bothell Mall, according to the Greater Bothell Chamber of Commerce, includes Level Seven Salon, Kozy Corner Cafe, Harmony Massage and Leela Yoga Studios.

Original Story:

A massive fire is still burning in downtown Bothell after the early morning blaze torched a construction site and hopped two sides of Main Street, gutting several businesses.

According to Lisa Allen, Bothell Fire Department public information officer, the three-alarm fire involves two blocks and moved down the hillside to the east on 102nd Avenue Northeast to the park and ride.

There were no injuries reported. The entire downtown area is currently blocked off.

The Bothell department received the call at 2:47 a.m. Friday morning, and when they arrived, the Mercantile Building construction site where the fire originated was fully involved. Allen said the fire was so hot that it melted a crane at the site.

To the west on 102nd and Main, the Bothell Mall building is gutted and still burning. To the north on Main, the Wells Fargo building was damaged from heat. To the east on 102nd, the roof of another building sustained damages. The latter buildings are still smoldering.

There at least two ladders above the fire at the mall with firefighters dousing the flames, along with multiple ground crews working on site.

Allen, who said it’s the biggest fire she’s ever seen, noted that it’s too hot to get into the buildings to begin an investigation, which may not happen for a couple of days.

Some buildings on the south side of Main sustained water damage, either with water leaking through the roof or flooding in from the street.

Neville Redman, 3 Lions Pub owner on Main, was inside his business when the fire started. He set up a firefighters’ resting station with sandwiches, water and sports drinks in the back of his building.

“I think it’s just a way of saying thanks to them (firefighters),” Redman said.

One business owner who wished to remain anonymous said that business owners whose buildings were affected showed up in the early morning and left in tears.

David Bartnik, a 16-year Bothell resident, came downtown with his son and noted that he’s never seen a fire of this magnitude.

At one point, there were around 90 firefighters and 30 apparatus vehicles were on scene from departments in Bothell, Northshore, Kirkland, Shoreline, Redmond, Bellevue, Woodinville, Snohomish County and Seattle.

Portions of 522 were shut down for awhile; the route is now entirely open.

Redmond Reporter editor Andy Nystrom contributed to this story.


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