Fire Next Door

I used to be the Managing Director of Taproot Theatre in Seattle. Cath and I lived on the same block as the theater (our bedroom was literally closer to the theater than the staff parking was).

Part of my job included being the first person the alarm company called when an alarm went off — which made sense, as I could respond in my pjs and lose less sleep than other staff members.

Once we got called because a spider crawled in front of the motion detector.

A couple of times for no discernible reason (theory is that someone may have tried to get in the front doors, gave up but shook them enough to trigger an alarm).

Most exciting time was for a false fire alarm, but the fire department responded, and I raced through the building unlocking doors before the fire fighters would get to them so they wouldn’t have to break them down.

Never got a call as exciting as the one Mark Lund got for Taproot this morning around 3:30 am.

That was for this:

(photo, as those below, taken from, who have great on-going coverage on this story)

Taproot owns the building next to its theater, which comprises (oops, comprised) of three restaurants and a coffee shop. The flames are coming from one of the restaurants.

That building is completely gutted now.

Taproot was not touched by the fire (the firewall between the theater and the restaurants worked). However, the efforts to save the theater have left it in shambles. Ceiling tiles were seen cascading down their main stairs; holes were punched through the ceiling and walls to insure the fire did not spread; the basement is being pumped as I write this. Who knows how much the smoke damaged the building.

The quick and thorough response of the fire department saved the theater as well as the building on the other side (the one that I use to call home). Residents were all safely evacuated, and even the kitties in the adoption center on the block were brought to safety.

Taproot has secured space at the Seattle’s Children’s theater to finish their sold out run of ENCHANTED APRIL. They will lose just tonight’s performance — a miracle in itself that another venue could be secured so quickly.

Wish I was up there now; feeling helpless this far south. Just yesterday, Cath booked a December trip that would include a Seattle stay-over; the first one in years.

Feel like I should say something else right here; but it hasn’t come yet. Know what I mean?

Prayers to the Noltes & Lunds & other Taproot staff. For the restaurant owners who no longer have a means for their trade. For the coffee shop — an outreach to the community and social ministry, serving the homeless among other things.

Friend and fellow artist Jeff Berryman gives his account of the events.

Just my thoughts,


From the back: The tall barn like structure to the right is Taproot; to the left of the flames is the part of the neighboring building that housed the pet adoption center; the stairs to the left are the ones that would have led to Cath & my apartment.

Again, picture from


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