Fire on 3600 block of 10th around 3:30 this afternoon


Thanks to a reader for sending these scary photos. I hope everyone is alright. He writes:

“Apparently the fire started in the basement and spread some while the FD struggled to get through the security gate. According to the next door neighbor, the owner was put on hold when she called 911 and it took her several minutes to find someone who could also call and get an immediate response. The FD got into the houses on either side of the burned rowhouse, but I don’t know if it spread.”


Three more photos after the jump.




18 Comment

  • Put on hold by 911? WTF?!

  • Aglets

    yeah, shrieking “my house is on fire” should put you at the top of the call order.

  • Amazing photos. So sad to see beautiful rowhouses on fire. Not to mention of course what happened to the occupants. Posts like this demonstrate why blogs like PoP are important: photos of an incident right after it happened.

  • every time I have called 911 I have been put on hold

  • @ JBE – only that’s one of the ugliest rowhouses I’ve seen.

  • Emmaleigh504

    man, I hope I never have to call 911. Would it be any faster to call the police and/or fire department directly? Like people did back before 911.

  • When someone was shot outside of my apartment I was also put on hold when calling 911. It was really frightening to have it happen but also very frightening to hear that I couldn’t talk to someone with 911.

  • Do they actually play muzak and then come on with the ultra cheerful lady saying “YOUR call is very important to us and will be answered in the order it was received”?

  • Oh I was put on hold once. My manager was being attacked by a crazy homeless dude with a knife. They just answered 911 said “hold please” or something, and I waited. And waited. And then someone went and found a cop on the street.

    I don’t remember if there was musak.

  • agree with eli. it’s sad to see it burn and all, but that rowhouse is an ugly duckling.

  • Pennywise–

    No muszak, but they do continuously say “do not hang up”

    I have never had a good 911 experience in the city. I used to call 311 to report non-emergency stuff (like witnessing minor car accident, passed out guy on the street, etc.) but now all that stuff goes through 911 which doesn’t help matters.

    Once after witnessing a car accident (a cab jumped a curb and hit a tree) I called 911, was put on hold for about 3 minutes, then the operator refused to send someone out b/c I didn’t provide an address. I was walking down a street so I told her 1900 block of Park Rd, NW, she said she needed an address; then I said 19th & Park Rd, NW, again she insisted on an address; then I said 1901 Park Rd, NW (picking one at random), her response…”ma’am you just gave me 3 different addresses.” I hung up, grateful I wasn’t having an emergency.

    That Washingtonian article was disturbing!

  • The 911 system in this city is an absolute joke. The pay sucks, the standards for hiring are absurdly low and the person who heads up the department [Office of Unified Communication] has absolutely no public safety experience whatsoever. As hard of a time as citizens have dealing with them when we occasionally have to call 911, MPD have a wretched time working with them on a daily basis. A lot of the dispatchers and call takers have serious attitude problems, incorrectly classify calls much too often and many have problems communicating with officers due to poor language skills. If you get attitude/problems from a 911 call taker ask for a ‘communications supervisor’ immediately and follow up with a complaint to your council member.

  • 911 call takers shouldn’t even have a ‘hold’ button on their phones.

  • agreed with those who say this is one ugly house! i feel terrible for anyone whose domicile has been destroyed, but calling this beautiful (looking at you, jbe) just ain’t right.

    crazy formstone and those ugly awnings? buckets of fail…

  • Most of what folks are referring to when they say they were “put on hold” is the automated pickup/recording after 1 ring telling them to stay on the line/call will be answered soon sort of thing.

    If call takers are actually voice-answering calls with “please hold” then they’re likely just doing that to artificially inflate the numbers of “calls answered within X seconds” when audit/review time comes.

  • I’ve called 911 numerous times and can’t remember ever being on hold. I guess I’d be one of their (few?) success stories.

  • I had the exact same address problem before. I said “11th and Park” and they first quibbled with me about “Park Road” versus “Park Place”, which would be legitimate except Park Place is parallel to 11th and there does not exist such an intersection. Then we went through the address game, I had to make one up.

    At the end of the day, I understand their desire for accuracy, but when you’re on a 911 call most people aren’t exactly going to calmly figure out the exact address where a major event is happening (if there’s even one).

    If I can type an intersection into Google Maps and have it give me a unique answer, 911 operators should be able to do the same.

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