Smoke rises from the under-construction Waterfront Place Apartments that caught fire along Marine View Drive on Thursday in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Smoke rises from the under-construction Waterfront Place Apartments that caught fire along Marine View Drive on Thursday in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

4-alarm fire erupts on Everett waterfront

Flames spewed ash into the sky, visible for miles along Port Gardner Bay, as a construction site burned Thursday.

EVERETT — A four-alarm fire on the Everett waterfront spewed flames and ash high into the sky Thursday evening, at the construction site of a half-finished apartment complex.

One firefighter suffered a relatively mild burn to the hand in the response, according to the Everett Fire Department. No other injuries were reported.

Flames engulfed a building that’s part of the unfinished Waterfront Place Apartments, at 1300 West Marine View Drive. The apartments were set to become the first major residential complex on the Everett waterfront, with 266 units in two buildings. About half of the construction project was destroyed Thursday.

Emergency sirens started to ring out around 5:45 p.m., on a warm dry evening.

A plume of smoke was visible for miles around, from Mukilteo to I-5. All along Port Gardner Bay, droves of people flooded into the streets to watch the spectacle. Many gathered at the overlook of Grand Avenue Park, where they could feel heat coming off the inferno. Dark gray smoke wafted through downtown Everett.

Drifting embers apparently set off another fire, about 300 yards to the east, at a two-story home in the 1600 block of Rucker Avenue. Flames damaged the roof.

Residents at other homes in the neighborhood sprayed garden hoses onto their lawns, porches and rooftops, as the ashes — blown east by the Puget Sound wind — threatened to cause the fire to creep up a brushy bluff between Grand and Marine View Drive.

Meanwhile, firefighters and engines responded to help from all around Snohomish County, including from Mukilteo and South County Fire. A ladder truck from Arlington was battling the fire at the Rucker home.

At least a half-dozen engines lined Grand, where neighbors walked through the park in search of the best vantage point to witness the fire.

“This is chaos,” said Karen Murrin, who lives in the neighborhood. “This is absolute chaos.”

At 8 p.m., the fire was still burning, but appeared to be largely under control, smoldering in spots.

Construction on Waterfront Place began in September 2019. It was scheduled to open in 2021, next door to the newly opened Hotel Indigo. The site is owned by SeaLevel Properties, a company that purchased the 5½-acre property from the Port of Everett for $7 million in 2018. It was considered a key piece of a major project re-envisioning the city’s waterfront. Port officials estimated would create 2,100 jobs and generate $8.6 million each year in state and local sales taxes.

Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; Twitter: @snocaleb.

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