The Seattle City Council took a step forward on legislation Tuesday that would grant authority to the Seattle Fire Department to tear down vacant, derelict buildings. The SFD chief said he is poised to act as soon as the emergency legislation goes into effect in May.

But, there may be a slight catch.

In a briefing before the public safety committee on Tuesday, SFD Chief Harold Scoggins pleaded with City Council for action on vacant buildings, noting his department responded to 130 fires in derelict structures in 2023 and is on pace to do the same this year.

Scoggins, along with Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, have asked the City Council for authorization to change the code to allow the city to tear down problematic buildings and force the owners to pay for the mitigation.

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