Morning fire destroys warehouse in downtown Tacoma, knocks out power

A fire destroyed a warehouse early Sunday in downtown Tacoma and knocked out power in the area for several hours.

No one was seriously injured in the blaze, but the building at 2134 Commerce St. being used as a parking garage was a total loss, firefighters said.

The fire was reported just after 1 a.m. and took about 60 firefighters several hours to subdue, Tacoma Fire Department spokesman Joe Meinecke said.

Heavy smoke and “spectacular” flames engulfed the building, compromising the structure’s integrity and forcing firefighters to battle the blaze with a defensive strategy, Meinecke said.

“Really large sections of walls started falling down and that’s obviously a real big risk for our personnel,” Meinecke said. “So we had to clear out and make sure we had a wide enough space to make sure everyone was safe.

“It’s very old,” Meinecke said of the building. “It’s full of heavy wood timbers.”

Streets were blocked off and traffic lights were out in the area early Sunday. Utility crews were working to restore power, which was out at neighboring businesses.

The fire scorched several power poles and melted transmission and distribution wires on C Street, said Nora Doyle of Tacoma Public Utilities.

At least 1,580 customers lost power because of the fire, she said. Crews restored power to all but 18 customers by 5 p.m., but customers without power might have to wait another eight hours before service is restored.

The cause of the fire was under investigation Sunday. Investigators were waiting to enter the warehouse until the building could be shored up.

Staff photographer Peter Haley contributed to this report.