Owners of Taste Rice Noodle talk to a South County firefighter as they survey the damage of a fire at Plum Tree Plaza off of Highway 99 on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021 in Edmonds, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Owners of Taste Rice Noodle talk to a South County firefighter as they survey the damage of a fire at Plum Tree Plaza off of Highway 99 on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021 in Edmonds, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

3-alarm fire burns Edmonds strip mall; no one hurt

Flames, smoke and water damaged “pretty much every business” in an L-shaped plaza Saturday morning.

EDMONDS — A three-alarm fire damaged over a dozen businesses Saturday morning in Edmonds.

Several 911 callers reported flames around 5:35 a.m. inside the Plum Tree Plaza, an L-shaped strip mall with 14 units at 22315 Highway 99.

Firefighters arrived to find flames blowing from a storefront toward the center of the plaza. Crews battled flames for about 40 minutes before getting them under control, South County Fire spokesperson Leslie Hynes said. About 75 firefighters were on the scene at the peak of the incident.

Nobody was injured.

A business placard burned away above the space with the worst damage, in Suite I. Firefighters later learned it was called Waroeng Jajanan, an Indonesian market with a small restaurant inside.

The strip mall has also been the home of noodle houses, a tutoring center, a dentist’s office, a beauty school, a salon, an antique store and so on — many of which had signs in Asian lettering, as well as English.

“Pretty much every business in there has some sort of water or smoke or fire damage,” Hynes said.

At the bend in the building was a kind of three-story tower styled like a lighthouse. Black streaks ran up the tower from the heat. All 14 businesses shared an attic space. Smoke flooded each unit.

Waroeng Jajanan took by far the most extreme damage from actual flames. The roof burned through, and from a distance, everything inside looked charred. Heat scalded outer walls, too, but most of the structure remained intact.

It did not appear anyone had been inside the building when the fire broke out, Hynes said.

South County firefighters remained at the scene for hours. The cause of the fire was under investigation. An official damage estimate was not available Saturday.

According to the restaurant’s website, Waroeng means a “street-side stall, booth or shop,” while Jajanan is slang for treats, snacks or “anything that one buys for fun.” A husband and wife who immigrated from Indonesia opened the business in 2012, specializing in yellow rice dishes, spiced chicken and meatball soup. It was a community hub for others with Indonesian roots.

The plaza was built in 1987, with almost 20,000 square feet of floor space, according to the Snohomish County Assessor’s Office. It had an assessed value of $4 million, with about half of that representing the value of the land.

Property records listed the owner as “Capital Equity Fund III, LLC,” with a mailing address in King County.

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

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