White Center Fire Damages Popular Lumber Yard Bar and In-the-Works Boba Cafe

The damage to the Lumber Yard Bar after a fire ripped through the building in the early morning hours July 5. | Courtesy of White Center Pride, via GoFundMe

They were among several businesses impacted by the blaze that spread in the early morning hours July 5

A large fire ripped through a portion of White Center’s business district late into the night on July 4 into the early morning hours of July 5, burning several commercial buildings. Among those impacted was the popular LGBTQIA+ venue Lumber Yard Bar and a still-in-the-works boba tea and bingsoo shop, in addition to Mexican specialty grocer La Tipica Oaxaqueña.

The blaze started around 1:40 a.m. near the corner of 16th Ave SW and Roxbury Street, one of the busiest sections in the neighborhood, and it was contained by the morning. Thankfully, no injuries were reported, but Seattle Fire Department public information officer Shauna Sheppard tells Eater Seattle the damage to the buildings was “significant.” Though the investigation as to the cause is still ongoing, Sheppard says, “We know it was accidental and non-fireworks related.”

This week, the community is rallying to help some of the businesses pick up the pieces. White Center Pride has set up a GoFundMe campaign page for the Lumber Yard — White Center’s first gay bar, which opened in 2017 — and has already raised more than $97,000 of its $100,000 goal for recovery efforts. In addition, nearby Southgate Roller Rink announced it will donate 100 percent of proceeds this Wednesday to the venue.

“The Lumber Yard was the heart of the gay community in White Center,” says Matt Maring, White Center Pride committee co-president. “It was a place where everyone including the LGBTQIA+ and straight community gathered. After surviving the pandemic, the businesses in White Center were just returning to normal so it’s a huge blow to the developing neighborhood.”

Meanwhile, the family-owned La Tipica Oaxaqueña also has a fire damage recovery fund set up on GoFundMe, as does a boba and bingsoo shop called Nuggi that had been under construction when the fire struck. The damage to Nuggi looked especially significant and has a crowdfunding goal of $40,000 for repairs. “The shop is a complete loss,” reads a note on the page. “And it is heartbreaking to see everything disappear into ash and rubble.”

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