Thursday, February 5, 2009

Major Fire in Washington Hotel Fills Streets with Spectators on Downtown Eastside

Yesterday a Downtown Eastsider was eating lunch at the Carnegie Center at Main & Hastings when it became obvious there was an emergency nearby.  "I heard siren after siren after siren." The Downtown Eastsider rushed outside and saw fire fighters at the Washington Hotel next to the Balmoral Hotel near Main & Hastings. The air was filled with smoke.  

People poured out of Carnegie Center and the nearby hotels and povertarian organizations and lined the sidewalks near Main & Hastings, to watch the fire fighters.  A crowd also stood on Cordova St. watching the fire from the rear of the Washington.  Flames and smoke were visible in a room with a window facing Cordova St. 

The Downtown Eastsider took a few photos and emailed them to us.  


The photo above was taken on Hastings St.  The Washington Hotel is the one with the ladder leaning against it. 

Update:  It has since been revealed that the Washington Hotel fire left 100 people homeless. City Emergency Social Services arrived to help Washington tenants find emergency shelter.


Anonymous said...

Apparently the sprinkler system was not operational. If true, then the Portland Hotel Society has a lot to answer for.

Dag said...

I asked the fellow picking up discarded needles and other fixings on the streets how business was yesterday. He told me it was good, that he'd gotten by then over 150 needles. Well, no wonder the streets were littered with them: the Needle Place was afire.

But no. The fire was upstairs.

But no, the needles weren't so close to the building at all; a few block away.

But no. It was before the fire started.

Well, the shooting crowd must have sensed it was unsafe to shoot-up at the Safe Fixing Site; they didn't use the place because... the Moon is in Virgo.

Because... cock-roaches were predicting an earthquake.


Well, this science stuff is too much for me. We all know that Big Science proves that the Safe Fixing Site is important.

reliable sources said...


You're right, the Portland Hotel Society could be in trouble. The msm quoted a fire department spokesperson today as saying that the sprinkler system hadn't turned on and that they were investigating that.

This could be a case of safe fixing but not safe housing.

reliable sources said...


You probably know this, but for readers not familiar with the 100 block Hastings, the Safe Fixing Site is actually a few doors down from the Washington Hotel. It's on the other side of the Balmoral Hotel, so it would have been accessible during the fire. Both the Washington Hotel and the Safe Fixing Site are operated by the Portland Hotel Society.

Since the Washington is intended to house people with problems such as drug abuse, I wouldn't be surprised if the PHS makes free needles available to tenants. I can't imagine them missing an opportunity to enable.

Wasn't it in the alley next to the Washington where you talked to a worker picking up used needles -- this was over a year ago now -- and he had just discovered a massive number in a pile of debris he believed had come from the

Dag said...

I meant to post this comment under the story concerning the lady who died in a fire on the sidewalk last Dec., but I missed it, and now, because the points are still relevant to the over-all situation of rights, I'll arbitrarily place it here.

If you know where the original story is, please feel free to paste it in there.

It'll take a genius of greater talent than Paine to successfully argue that anyone has a personal right to set him/herself on fire in a doorway in a Modern city, or anywhere else. It just ain't right to die like that, regardless of ones civil rights. No one has the right to burn to death by accident due to refusing to live in safer conditions.

Further, no one has a right to self-immolate in a city for any other reason, we as residents all having the right not to have to put up with it on grounds of personal security and the right to privacy. No one has a right to put my life on hold while I ponder the effects of a burning tarp wrapped around some lady melting underneath. That kind of invasion of my life is beyond the Pale. If the police want to stop someone from that, go for it. I have a right not to put up with people torching themselves, however unintentionally, by putting themselves in a situation likely to lead to a flaming fireball writhing around on the sidewalk of the central business district. I got my rights, too. It means others have some responsibility to behave in the space we share, i.e. public space. And if some people go so far as to burn to death in public, then it is a matter of public safety and an issue of privacy that they be grabbed up and shuffled away so I don't have to deal with it. I do, in fact, have a legitimate right to be left alone.

To argue that one cannot force others to receive "help" is to miss the point that one can indeed force anyone to do so. The problem is, what is legitimate "help?" The question is, who is a legitimate "helper?" Who is legitimately in need of and deserving of or a legitimately enforced subject of "help?" What are the right boundaries of all this "help?" Where do we start drawing some lines?

There's hardly a more helpless creature than homo ferus, the man alone. Often the "wild child" is found walking on all fours like a beast; can't walk, can't talk, can't think, can't learn. Man is a social animal, and without a society to give him identity he is a poor thing in the wilds. With society to create conditions of his life he can become. No other animal has that potential. Man can become nearly anything within the realm of Human gravity. But not everything. And not everyone. We have personal limits. Because we have limits within ourselves, we need the help of others, those who have strengths we miss or who have strengths like ours needed to give us power beyond our personal limits. In a fair trade, we give so we may get fairly. We need help, and we give help. That's how we survive and prosper. Do I have a right to your "help?" I don't think so. Nor do I think I have an obligation to receive your "help" if I don't want it. It' a matter of what is social. If I fall down on the sidewalk and spontaneously combust, I have some legitimate claim to help, asked for or not; and faced with a flaming person on the street, one has a duty to try to save the person, like him or not. It's not personal, it's social. In the face of dire necessity and emergency, one doesn't have a right to ignore it for philosophical reasons. To live within the realm of the possible is a right from nature. The fact of existence saddles us, like it or not, with moral imperatives. Not everyone is moral, and there's no law against it in general. Nor should there be, though many seem to disagree.


There is among many Leftists an idea, as such it is, that deonotological laws are a Positive imperative. If it can be done, it should be done, regardless of the consequences, and made done by law on the books. Thus, morality become a factor of the police state, in this case the Velvet Fascist police state. It's for your own good that the left legislates morality. How could it be otherwise? The Leftist sees immorality, sees social evils, and he rushes out to legislate the Good. Who could argue? Only a fiend will argue against legislating morality, right? Well, no. We don't have a legal obligation to do Good Deeds. i.e. to be moral. Being moral is a personal choice that moral people make as moral agents. That's what makes them moral people. But the Left doesn't think of people as moral or as having agency. Thus, they legislate. There is no individual, there is only the community and its enemies. Within the community, the communion of true believers, there are the elect, the Perfects, Those Who Know. The term for such people is Gnostic. They are religious fanatics. They intend to create Heaven on Earth,, and it matters not how many people they must kill to make their perfect plans come to fruition: the end will be perfect for all forever. They are religious fanatics. Some call them poverty pimps, some call them scum. Some call them friends. They are religious fanatics who demand legislation of the moral. If they can think up problem in society, they then think up a law to cover it. It's always for your own good. You, on the other hand, don't make any fucking difference.

If there is a social injustice, regardless of what it is, whether it's significant, or whether it needs interfering with, one is sure to find a deonotolgical fascist up to his eyes in the campaign to fix it. Some people make a good living fighting for "social justice." It's a growth industry. There is always some little thing to fix, and the fix being in, there is always a union position under a city executive position. All for your own good, of course. How could you disagree? And because some do argue that the individual is better left to make his own decisions in his own interest, he knowing better than a paid professional what his own interests are, the one who argues for human freedom is a person who is duped by the system or is simply evil; and because there are evil people and the system is evil, it takes the religious fanatic to step in and legislate morality, backed up with a pay-cheque of, say, $104.000.00 per year or more. Because without legislation and the professional staff to make the system fair, someone might not have a unionized social worker minding his or her own business. If left to their own lives, some people, and even many, maybe even most, would make bad decisions about what they would like to do with their lives. They might drive without seat-belts, smoke cigarettes, eat unhealthy food, and so on. There ought to be a law. In fact, there are many of them. Too many. And most of them are for your own good. You don't matter. What the Hell do you know, anyway? If something is wrong, then some deonotological moralist should stop it, assuming they have public funding and a law to cover them, a union staff, and volunteers who will work for food stamps.


When does the public have a right and a duty to intervene in the life of a private person?

Communitarians, Jean Swanson, for example, barely recognize the existence of individuals. For the communitarian, the individual ant is not important, it's the hive. in that kind of attitude and understanding of people, everything is a matter of general concern to the General Will. There is no validity in the private will. The private is anti-social, selfish, destructive of the harmony that should exist in the whole. Think "Bill Simpson." Every individual is nothing compared to the group. If Simpson is a pain, then he has no rights, certainly not to impinge on the harmony of the greater mass. Out he is.

Below is an example of Muslims who take Jean Swanson's vision to a high plane:

The fighters [Somali jihadis] then turned their hammers on graves, some of which contained the remains of followers of Sufi, a mystical form of Islam.

The sites have been revered for decades and are regularly visited by people paying homage to the dead, a practice al-Shabab has condemned as being akin to idolatry.

"We are a chosen lot by Allah to try and correct the mystics of the people and guide them," Hassan Yaqub, a spokesman for the Kismayo administration, told Al Jazeera.

"We have a responsibility to the people to guard the people against all evil deeds."

In October, a 13-year-old girl was reportedly stoned to death in Kismayo after she was found guilty of adultery.

The UN later said that she had been raped....
"Somali fighters destroying shrines," from Al-Jazeera, December 20, 2008.

If you are the elect of God, then you have not only a right to do, you have a duty to do.

"We have a responsibility to the people to guard the people against all evil deeds."

Well, thank you very much, but fuck off. Though that doesn't work here either. Simpson is still in the snow, assuming he's still alive. And why would Simpson be important anyway? He's just one guy. "It's all about the community!" as Swanson claims, not about one mere individual.

Nor is intervention about saving a bag-lady from burning to death in the snow: it's not about one bag-lady: it's about the collective rights of "The Poor!" If one burns and another freezes, that's not important. It's about the group identified as "The Poor!"

In Islam, when an unmarried female has sex with a man, it's zina, a sex-crime. That she is raped isn't important, it's a crime to have sex if one is an unmarried female; and the punishment is death by stoning. Everyone knows that. It's not about some 13 year old girl, it's about the umma, the community.

"We have a responsibility to the people to guard the people against all evil deeds."

Thank you, Jean Swanson. If you wish to complain about me, I'll be with Bill Simpson, assuming he's still alive.