Massive fire destroys Tacoma warehouse, 3 firefighters injured

Photo: Alika Kalii

TACOMA, Wash. - A massive two-alarm fire destroyed the old Tacoma Steel Works building and nearly an entire city block early Sunday Morning.

Investigators say the fire broke out just after 1:00 a.m. in the 2100 block of Commerce Street. Jacob Murphy captured the roaring fire on his cell phone.

"It basically looked like nothing but a chimney of fire going like 100 feet in the air or so," said Murphy.

Firefighers say the blaze was so intense it melted the structure's steel beams.

"All you could see was a burning fireball rolling through the sky," said Murphy.

The former warehouse was being used as a parking garage. Investigators say it was empty last night, but the old timber used to build the structure made for a challenging fire fight.

"Parts of the walls were falling down, it was a real high hazard situation for our personnel," said Joe Meinecke of the Tacoma Fire Department.

Three firefighters were hurt in the blaze and treated at the scene for minor injuries. At one point fire crews had to be pulled from inside the building and take a defensive approach outside the structure.

The fire damaged four buildings and some power lines on the street. About 165 customers were in the dark. Power crews spent most of the day restoring service to several businesses and condo complexes within a three-block radius.

Firefighters mopped up hot spots and shored up the buildings so they can safely get inside to determine where and how the fire started.

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