Firefighters contained a four-alarm fire at a government marine facility on Lake Union Wednesday morning, hours after the blaze erupted, shooting towering flames into the night sky. Five firefighters were slightly hurt, and three boats and a building on the east side of the lake were damaged, KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reported.
"I'm surprised that dock is still standing because it was a pier of flames (earlier)," said KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Jeff Dubois, who was reporting live from the scene all morning.
The fire erupted at 1:28 a.m. on a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration vessel and on one dock, witnesses said. It quickly spread, fueled by flammable and toxic creosote-soaked pilings.
The fire spread to a neighboring dock and then to a warehouse, all part of the NOAA facility. Fire crews arrived quickly, but the flames began spreading north, igniting a second boat and more docks.
Firefighters had to retreat from the docks as the pier beneath them began to go up in flames.
Crews sprayed water from shore, and fireboats were brought in to attack the flames from the water.
Seattle fireboat "Alki" was already in place on Lake Union. Seattle fireboat "Chief Sealth" was brought in from Elliott Bay. Police harbor patrol boats also joined the firefight.
There was no immediate word on what caused the fire or whether it was related to the fireworks demonstration that drew thousands of people to the area on Tuesday night.
The fire department was forced to bring in firefighters from other cities to cover Seattle fire stations because so many local firefighters were at the scene.
Police shut down Eastlake Avenue because of fire hoses stretched across the street. Fairview Avenue was also closed because of fire trucks.
Seattle police officers from several districts were brought in for traffic control.
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