Management purposefully causing fire hazards at Fourthwest Apartments

September 17, 2013

The building at 521 4th avenue west in Seattle, Washington is a pretty old building. As such you expect that it will have a few age related issues. What is unexpected is the amount of actual safety related issues here. As previously documented here, and with the City of Seattle, there was an electrical issue that could have burned down the building.

There are baseboard heaters as part of the electrical system here. These are old baseboard heaters that do not have safety mechanisms built into them. After signing the lease agreement I was told that if there are any failures in the heaters they will turn on at the hottest setting. As you can imagine that could be a severe fire hazard, especially with the built-in drapes coming down closely over the baseboard heaters. That makes me a bit nervous so one of the first things I did upon taking possession of the apartment is to turn off the breakers controlling the heaters. I do not want to risk my life, the building, or lives of the other tenants on the chance that there could be a failure that causes the building to burn down while I am away.

So far every time I have returned home after any work has been done in the apartment the heater breakers have been turned back on. I do not know why this is the case. Due to the electrical issue that was causing the breaker box to emit sparks I now try to turn off the breaker controlling that circuit whenever I am away. The breaker was replaced, but after sparking for so long I am not confident that there is not more damage in the electrical box and management refuses to bring in an electrician to inspect it. So I turn it off.

Today I went to turn off the breaker before leaving the apartment for a while I went to turn the bad breaker off and realized that the breakers for the heaters had been turned back on. Um…what? Fire hazard mode again enabled.

I see what is happening in my apartment and it makes me nervous about what other issues may exist in other units in this building and the two next to it. I do not feel safe living here and highly recommend if you are looking for a place that you look elsewhere. It is not worth living with the knowledge that management does not care about the lives of the residents.

Here is a photo of the breaker box. Switches towards the middle means they are on. Note that half of the circuits are currently turned off. It does not inspire confidence or make me feel like I can utilize the apartment when I cannot even use the electrical. Please do not even consider living here.


Also note the missing cover which is required by law.

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