Small rooftop fire leads to evacuation of Kirkland retirement home
By MATT PHELPS
Kirkland Reporter Regional Assistant Editor
June 25, 2012 · Updated 5:16 PM
Approximately 120 residents, some with wheelchairs and walkers, and staff filled the parking lot of Madison House on Monday afternoon, as a small fire from rooftop construction work triggered an evacuation at the retirement community.
“Everything worked as it was supposed to and there were no injuries,” said Diane Umayam, Madison House general manager. “The response was really wonderful.”
Fire crews from Kirkland, Bothell, Redmond and Woodinville responded to the call that came in at about 1:30 p.m.
Umayam said that the roof of the building has been under construction and some welders’ smoke entered a vent in the building, triggering the fire alarm.
“There was work being done on the roof by some welders and there was a small fire but it was put out by the time we got here,” said Kirkland Fire Department Incident Commander Margo Freeman, who oversaw the response and inspection to make sure that there were no other issues.
“Everything worked like it is supposed to,” said Freeman.
But the fact that the call came from a retirement home added to the stress level of an often tense job.
“All of us take it a little differently when it comes from a place like this,” said Freeman of the urgency.
The commander said that Madison House employees seemed very prepared for fire emergencies.
“The staff did a terrific job of getting the residents out and it is an overwhelming job,” said Freeman. “They take a lot of pride in their fire response and often do drills.”
Madison House residents were allowed back inside the building after about 40 minutes.
The retirement community is located in Kirkland's Totem Lake neighborhood, across the street from Evergreen Hospital.
Contact Kirkland Reporter Regional Assistant Editor Matt Phelps at email@example.com or 425-822-9166 ext. 5052.