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Greenwood neighbors mourn fire, look forward

A group of about 60 people, most with ties to Sanctuary Church and the Green Bean Coffee House, shared stories, hugs, tears and prayers at a “Greenwood Fire Wake” tonight at the church’s offices above Chase Bank on 85th and Greenwood.

In a comforting, reassuring voice, Pastor Randy Rowland acknowledged the sadness and challenges ahead in dealing with the loss of the Green Bean, but said it’s not about “bricks and boards,” it’s about the community. “We couldn’t get through this without you. You’re what makes Greenwood such a great place,” he said. Then he turned the memory of the consuming flames into a positive metaphor, urging those attending to be “engulfed with a flame of faith, hope and love” to give them the strength to regroup and move on.

While tonight’s gathering was “a chance for people to be sad together,” they’re quickly taking steps to put that behind them, setting a meeting for 8 p.m. next Thursday at Romio’s to plan their next steps, Summer Mohrlang, manager of the Green Bean, said later.

Not all was sadness, Rowland pointed out. Their coffee roaster, Neil Brown, brought them a neon “coffee” sign to put in their office window, along with a bag of proudly displayed “burnt bean blend” made just for the occasion.

Meanwhile, back at the fire scene, Seattle Fire Batallion Chief Eric Lindahl said fire crews would be on hand for at least the next day or two putting out hotspots in the collapsed debris. A few minutes later, firefighters wrestled a hose into place to put out fresh flames.

Lindahl said it will be a while before it’s safe for fire investigators to get inside the remains of the building to try to determine what caused the fire.

Taproot Theatre co-owner Scott Nolte also noted the brick facade of the shell of the Eleanor Roosevelt Building needs to be shored up to keep it from falling onto the sidewalk and 85th. Until that happens, a fence closing off the sidewalk and one westbound lane of the street will remain in place.

If the insurance company will OK a crane to be brought in to remove debris, firefighters will be able to more quickly extinguish remaining flames. Nolte said their insurance adjuster is expected to arrive at 8 a.m. to make that determination.