Huge fire burns lumber warehouses near SPU, expect Ship Canal Trail delays – UPDATED

Photo from the Seattle Fire Dept. As you can see, the Ship Canal Trail is in the middle of it all.

A huge fire destroyed lumber warehouses owned by Gascoigne Lumber Company and Northwest Millworks Saturday night, but luckily there are no reports of injuries at this time. We hope it stays that way.

Regular users of the Ship Canal Trail should recognize the building in the photo to the right, because the trail runs closely behind the building near Seattle Pacific University campus. Buildings were destroyed on both sides of the trail. I have asked Seattle Fire if they have an estimate for when the trail might reopen and will update this post when I hear back. But I think it’s safe to assume that it will be closed for a while, so give yourself a little extra time to get through the area. UPDATE: Seattle Fire spokesperson Kristin Tinsley confirmed that they have not yet assessed damage to the trail and do not yet have a timeline for reopening it: “Due to the amount of debris on the Ship Canal Trail, the trail is still closed for the time being until clean-up is complete. No damage estimate on the trail yet or ETA on reopening.”

Reader Rob Huntress said firefighters were still working as of Sunday evening, and Nickerson Street was the nearest detour option between 3rd and 6th Avenues W. Nickerson has a paint-only bike lane westbound, but no bike lane eastbound. There is also a sidewalk for folks who are not comfortable biking in busy traffic, but remember to yield to people walking. If the closure will be for an extended period of time and no other detour is possible, a temporary trail on Nickerson might be a good idea.


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8 Responses to Huge fire burns lumber warehouses near SPU, expect Ship Canal Trail delays – UPDATED

  1. Brian says:

    I biked through there earlier this afternoon (Monday), and part of this is still smoldering. Fire Department had a pumper sitting on a side street. The westbound detour of several blocks on Nickerson is marked with signs.

  2. Fish says:

    Eastbound detour wasn’t marked this morning. I took the sidewalk for a block on Nickerson and made a left turn to get back on the trail. It’s times like this I’m very grateful that it’s not illegal to bike on the sidewalk in this city. Crossing Nickerson wouldn’t have been easy.

    • Nickerson Cyclist says:

      I’m hoping you weren’t the guy who was biking on the sidewalk and go nailed by car pulling out of Rooftop Brewing this evening.

      Biking on the sidewalk is never a good idea and the only other collision on that section of Nickerson was a cyclists who was biking on the sidewalk and nailed by car existing a driveway back in May. I’m not aware of any cyclists who have been hit while biking on the street, which is saying a lot given all the SPU students biking on that stretch of the road.

      W. Nickerson between 13th and 6th has sharrows and you have signals at both intersections to make the turns onto/off of Nickerson. There is no reason to bike on the sidewalk.

      • Don Brubeck says:

        Nickerson Cylist,
        Perhaps you meant that, “biking on the sidewalk is never a good idea” is not good at this particular location. But biking on the sidewalk is often an excellent idea. Particularly if you are less than 12 years old, or riding on busy streets with young riders, or riding solo on major arterials with heavy traffic traveling at high speeds (like, say, parts of Aurora Ave N or East Marginal Way S south of S Spokane), or going slowly uphill on an arterial with poor sightlines. On Highland Park Way, I can go downhill at 30 mph keeping up with traffic, but would not ride in the traffic lane at 6-8 mph uphill. Just need to ride on sidewalks with caution, yielding to pedestrians and taking care at driveways, and acting like a pedestrian at intersections.
        Riding a bike is more efficient than driving in the city, in large part because we can be opportunistic and choose to use bike lanes, traffic lanes, sidewalks, alleys, and other paths, all in the same trip.

      • Fish says:

        No…I rode on the sidewalk for one block before 7AM w/o a single pedestrian in view…stupid comment.

  3. bill says:

    I had no trouble eastbound on Nickerson today all the way to the Fremont Bridge. (I happened to approach from 15th, so I don’t know what the detour on the trail is like.)

    Westbound the only detour sign I saw directed me north on the Ballard Bridge. This was at the Nickerson overpass at 15th. I wanted to get to the Ship Canal trail. All the car drivers were very nice allowing me to backtrack and get into the left-turn lane to cross the overpass. I don’t know what SDOT’s intention is, if there is one. Cyclists only go to Ballard? We are supposed to use the stairs under the bridge? (Like hell, my bike was loaded with 20lbs of groceries!)

    SDOT needs to do better.

    • Fish says:

      I think you were using Nickerson instead of the Ship Canal Trail. The trail is only closed for like a block and still goes underneath the ballard bridge. The detour you are referring to is a road paving project that’s been going on for a while.

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