Seattle, WA Deadly Hotel Fire, Mar 1970

Ozark Hotel after Fire


Seattle (AP) -- An early morning fire at the Ozark Hotel here killed at least 19 persons, and Mayor WES UHLMAN said after meeting with fire and police officials that the blaze appeared to have been "intentionally set."
It was the city's second most disastrous fire in regard to the number of persons killed. Firemen searching through smoking rubble said others also may have perished in the blaze.
UHLMAN said the indication of arson was based on "fires that began almost simultaneously in the hotel's two main stairways."
He also said teams of fire officials had been making night of hotels after "receiving information from federal sources ... that there was a developing pattern of fires in downtown hotels."
The mayor ordered an immediate investigation to determine what kinds of material were used "to set the fire."
There were 617 arson fires in Seattle last year, according to fire department officials.
The King County medical examiner's office said the toll might go higher. An estimated 35 to 40 persons were in the hotel, one guest said.
Seattle Police Sgt. JACK LAWSON, who witnessed the blaze, said some hotel residents leaped from windows to escape flames.
EUGENE FINGARSON, 42, a hotel guest said he sat on a fourth-floor window ledge for about 15 minutes until firemen put a ladder up to him.
"I heard a siren," said FINGARSON, "and then I smelled smoke. I opened the door, but the fire came into the room, and I had to close it again."
"The hall was full of fire and smoke. I couldn't get out that way."
He said many of the residents were elderly persons.
"I know one man jumped from the second floor. He was pretty banged up, but he was OK." He estimated the hotel housed 35-40 persons.
FINGARSON said he was awakened about 2:30 a.m. Firemen reported the fire under control at 3:24 a.m.
One tenant, GRACE CHAMBERS, 69, was injured critically when she jumped through a window pane and plunged from the third floor.
Two fire fighters also were hurt.
Fire Chief GORDON VICKERY said the first company on the scene found two fires, one at the base of the stairway at the hotel's north entrance the other on a second floor landing of a stairway on the south side.
The fires exploded up both stairways, VICKERY said. Within six minutes of the arrival of the first firemen, flames had broken through the roof of the hotel, he added.
Police officer ROSS CARMEN pulled a paralyzed woman from the burning hotel and held her against a fire escape until firemen arrived to held him.
CARMEN said he watched another occupant, HARRY CURRIE, 60, clinging to a window sill as flames licked out at him, burning CURRIE'S hands and face.
"There wasn't any way to reach him," CARMEN said. "I was holding the woman, but the rail was too high and I couldn't pull her over. He must have hung there 10 minutes."
Fire fighters rescued CURRIE with a ladder.

Walla Walla Union-Bulletin Washington 1970-03-20


My uncle Joseph Mandt died in

My uncle Joseph Mandt died in this fire. They said it appeared he woke up, banged his head and was knocked out. He died of smoke inhalation. The fire escape was right outside his window

Ozark Hotel Fire

I am a survivor of the Ozark Hotel fire. I am now 80 years old. I was 33 at the time of the fire.

My room was on the 5th floor, Room 501, the 1st room on the left as you exited the elevator. The window that I escaped from was on the back side of the hotel.

A women on my left fell to her death as I and another man were trying to talk her into not to try to get to the escape latter at the end of the building to our left. To this day I can still her her screams, and that of many others, and the sound of her body as is landed on the sidewalk below us.

I was taken to Harbor View Hospital Burn Center after they rescued me via ladder truck. I remember a Police officer putting a spot light on me and telling me not to move. My shorts and T shirt were smoldering along with my hair, etc. I can remember him shouting to a Fireman that there is a man behind the spot light that needs help. They wrapped me in a fire blanket to get me down the ladder.

I was at the hospital burn center for a long time. I spent my time in HELL so I know my God has something better planned for me.

My blog

I was born on March 31st, 1976. My life started out like a lie. The mother was with my biological papa for a limited time when I seemed to be concieved. For whatever reason, my mom and her family members decided to tell my father that I wasn't his, when he noticed me as an infant with my nanny.

ozark hotel fire 1970 seattle

I watched the fire burn that night from my graveyard shift job at an Echo gas station on Aurora Highway 99. I met your

mother shortly before this with your sister Denise at a house in I think the Wallingford District. She was so very nice. I

remember how much you girls looked like her. She shined when she laid her eyes on Denise. She seemed to be a very

easy person to like. I remember the time with her well. : )

Ozark Fire

My dad was one of the firefighters that responded. He never wanted to talk about it. He lost a lung in the fire, and he mentioned (once) of all the people he had to pull out - I know it affected him tremendously. Very, very sad.

Your Mother's name

check your spelling and middle name for your mother on this site. Julie thinks you might have it incorrect.

ozark hotel fire 1970

My Mother was killed in this fire, dropped from the fifth floor. I want to know more!! The man that was with her and tryed to hold on to her from the fifth floor that faitfull night/ early morninig, was named Joesefh Smith. Please if you know anything about Maureem jone Norman and or this fire please contact me. Darla~