Business owners have vowed to reopen, after a blaze consumed two structures on Tiger Mountain Road early this week. The fire cause remains unknown as of Feb. 20.
Eastside Fire and Rescue were dispatched at 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 19 to the 23800 block of Southeast Tiger Mountain Road. After arriving on scene, the blaze was upgraded to a two-alarm fire and required resources from around the region, said fire official Steve Johnson.
Mountainside School, located across the street, evacuated about 50 children to nearby Fire Station 76. There children reunited with their parents.
At least one of the two buildings was deemed a complete loss by officials. And the small businesses housed in the structures remain closed for now. Among them was River Valley Cheese, a cooking school that has restoration plans in the works. On her voicemail, owner Kristi Slotemaker thanks others for the support she’s been given since the fire destroyed the building, and refers to the fire as a “little bump in the road.”
A GoFundMe page for the business outlines what she witnessed: “When Kristi arrived on the scene, smoke and ashes smoldered where buildings once stood. From the moment she saw the devastation, she had to distinguish the building from the business. While the building is a skeleton, the River Valley Cheese spirit remains very much alive.”
No hydrants in the area meant firefighters relied on several water tenders, or water tankers — vehicles used to transport water from water source to fire. Of the six water tenders, three were from bordering agencies. Responses from Maple Valley, Fall City and Bellevue fire departments aided in extinguishing the blaze.
Due to the lack of hydrant use, the blaze was fought in a defensive manner, meaning no firefighters entered the structure. Instead they battled from outside the building.
Two firefighters sustained minor back injuries and were taken to a local hospital where they were evaluated and released. The cause for their injuries remains unknown.