Seattle parties (perhaps a bit too much) over Seahawk victory

SEATTLE — There was a lot to celebrate — and a lot to clean up — Monday morning, the day after the Seattle Seahawks brought home the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy for the first time and the vaunted "12th Man" fan base went a little crazy in response.

Devotees of this Super Bowl-winning team are known as the loudest in the National Football League, ear-splitting enough that the NFL instituted a noise rule in 1985 in response to the Seattle pandemonium. But after the Seahawks’ lopsided victory Sunday night, the 12th Man did more than just yell.

In the University District, happy pyromaniacs dragged sofas into the middle of a busy intersection and set them on fire. No one was hurt, and firefighters were eventually able to douse the hot seats when the flames got a little too big for comfort.

“One person was arrested for the charge of reckless burning because he kept going back in and trying to reignite it,” said Det. Mark Jamieson, spokesman for the Seattle Police Department. “Even though we had large crowds, the mood was mostly exuberance.”

Thousands of fans congregated mostly in three of this city’s famous neighborhoods — the University District, Capitol Hill and Pioneer Square. From the time the Super Bowl ended until the crowds eventually were dispersed by police after midnight, Jamieson said, there were only about half a dozen arrests.

Pioneer Square in downtown Seattle was probably the hottest spot. Around 11:20 p.m., officers heard shots fired, saw a suspect sprinting away, caught the person and recovered a gun. At first, Jamieson said, police thought the sound was just someone firing rounds into the air.

Then they found a reveler with a gunshot wound to the leg, transported that victim to the hospital and arrested the suspect. Later, an unrelated shooting incident occurred not far from Pioneer Square. The second victim was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. No arrest has been made, although Jamieson said the victim is believed to have known the assailant.

“For the most part, the mood was just very good,” Jamieson said. “People were just happy that their team won. But sometime after midnight, 12:30ish, the mood turned a little bit and people started throwing bottles at our officers in Pioneer Square. There was property damage to some business windows.”

Police were able to disperse the Pioneer Square crowd in this famously polite city, but not before a rowdy group converged on a well-known pergola, a historic landmark of glass and decorative wrought iron.

The pergola was built in 1909 and shattered into thousands of pieces in 2001 when a truck smashed into it. A yearlong, $4-million reconstruction effort shored up the wrought iron with structural steel, so that that even the 12th Man couldn’t destroy it.

“People are not channeling their enthusiasm properly,” is how one local newscaster described the scene as it unfolded around the pergola Sunday night. An estimated $25,000 in damage is how Joelle Hammerstad, spokeswoman for Seattle Parks and Recreation, pegged it Monday morning.

About 20 of the pergola’s glass panes were shattered, Hammerstad said. Its posts were tagged with graffiti. The copper flashings that keep the structure from leaking must be replaced after revelers marched on the delicate roof.

The city does not know how long it will take for the pergola to be repaired, but it won’t be in peak condition for the Seahawks’ hometown victory celebration scheduled for Wednesday.


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