Multiple Readers Report Frager’s on Fire on the Hill

11th and Pennsylvania Ave, SE via AM

@iaff36 now tweets:
“**3rd Alarm** #DCFD on the scene at Fragers Hardware in #Caphilldc”

@patrickWhitmore tweets us:

“@PoPville cops getting people away due to toxic fumes. Likely from paint shop. People should stay away – for their own health.”

@melanieciolek tweets: “DCFD going at flames from above, have windows out in house next door”

View from Rossyln:

Photo via SB

From Council Member Tommy Wells:

“Frager’s Hardware is a DC landmark and an absolute gem to the Capitol Hill community. The owner John Weintraub and former co-owner Ed Coppenhaver have always given back so much to the community. This fire may present a set-back, but I can say with confidence that this community and our city will rally behind Fragers and its employees. My office will be working with the store, neighbors and community organizations to help put together a coordinated response effort. I want to thank our Firefighters and emergency responders for their efforts to contain and put out the fire.”

38 Comment


  • it is horrific

    • Walking down Penn Ave NW towards the Capitol building, and seeing black smoke rising from behind the dome sure does leave an uneasy feeling – not knowing what is going on

  • jim_ed

    I can hardly believe it, but I saw thick smoke from North Petworth, so unless something else is also on fire, the smoke can be seen from 5-6 miles away.

    Fragers is a great store with great employees. Hopefully everyone is safe and accounted for.

  • I’m at 6th and East Capitol and can smell the smoke and hear sirens still coming by. Haven’t gone upstairs yet to see the smoke. Such a loss.

  • WTOP says it is now a 4 alarm fire and possibly one near building on 11th has caught fire. Smoke still I comiNg up at 7:45 can see it from my sofa.

  • Can smell the fumes up here on Meridian Hill

  • This started around 6:30 and is still going strong – all that paint is fueling it – many fire trucks and now helicopters. Everyone is very somber and sad to see this neighborhood place burning.

  • I love fragers. The people there are so friendly and helpful. I stopped going to home depot a long time ago because fragers had just what I needed and people who knew what I was talking about. I hope they rebuild. The building was magical but the value of that place was the employees. I hope area businesses would all take one or two of the employees on their payroll until fragers is rebuilt. This is sad.

  • I saw and smelled the smoke from my office on N Cap. All I can say is no. No No No. Not fragers.

  • 8:45 and the smoke and fire is still billowing down the whole block. devastating for the neighborhood

  • gosh, i was driving back into the city from arlington and couldn’t believe the amount of smoke. hope everyone is safe.

  • You could see the plume from the Pentagon.

  • who’s gonna start the Kickstarter? We can’t let them leave the neighborhood. Must. Rebuild. Fragers.

  • Could see the smoke from the second floor of my house up in Brookland too.

  • justinbc

    Saw it while crossing the 14th St bridge then the texts started coming in. Was just there on Sunday, so sad. Hopefully they’re covered by insurance enough to recoup to some degree.

  • DC alerts is also reporting 4 alarms. and apparently it’s the paint section of the store 🙁 so sad.

  • Let’s be honest though, the place was a serious fire hazard.

  • >
    > To the employees of Fragers:
    > Stop by matchbox Capitol Hill tomorrow from 2 to 5pm if you would like to seek temporary work until our beloved hardware store gets back on its feet.
    > I will be there in person.
    > Fred
    > 11th and C
    > VP of operations
    > Matchbox food group

    • Good on ya, Matchbox.

    • Smart move on Matchbox’s part. Even if they don’t have restaurant experience, the Frager’s staff all seem like they’d be great employees– passionate about their jobs and extremely personable. And I have a feeling Matchbox and Ted’s will be getting even more business than usual this week.

      The Pretzel Bakery is offering employment too, though they’re a small operation and I can’t imagine they can provide more than one or two jobs.

  • Paint, fertilizer, pesticides, and who knows what else… all volatilized. I’m no chemist, nor a chicken-little type either, but I’d be good and freaked about the air quality if I lived nearby. Actually, given the breeze tonight, I might be a little freaked up here in CH.

  • I was overwhelmed to see this today- such an institution in our neighborhood and city. The smoke was heavy and strong north of Independence in the Hill and Eastern Market neighborhoods. My place is missing the smoke thanks to the wind direction. Fragers is probably one of the only places in this city that offers such great customer experience. Was just there last week for a few things.

  • This needs to be clarified, but I live on 11th St, SE, just a few blocks north of Frager’s, downwind from the smoke, and spent over an hour watching at very close proximity from the 12th St, SE/E St SE intersection. The epicenter of the fire is most certainly NOT the paint store (nor did that store catch fire), as widely reported, but originated from the main hardware store, towards the rear. The smoke is quite noxious as you can smell the rancorous fumes at least half a mile away.

    The frame of the building is still standing, but I’m fearing the worst in that the interior is completely gutted. I am very hopeful Frager’s can recover and I’ll toss my full support around this vital store.

  • This is just awful. I do historic restorations on CH and maintenance at the William Penn House so shop at Fraggers almost daily. I feel like my house burned down tonight. Thank God everyone’s okay. Greatest sympathy from Olde Quaker Crafters, LLC

  • Devastating loss for the community

  • Oh no!! There’s a certain light bulb I use that I can only find at Frager’s. I’ll schlepp across the city to shop there. Do you think they’ll let me root through the rubble to find them?

  • This is such shocking and terrible news. I really hope they’ll be able to rebuild 🙁

    For anyone interested in donating:

  • austindc

    Crap. I love Fragers. Like, in a romantic way sometimes. And I’ll be damned if I set foot in a Home Creepo. I want to help rebuild, but I got all my building stuff from Fragers. . .

    • If you need a temporary fling, I recommend Annie’s in Petworth, or the Ace in Logan. Neither one is a full-on Frager’s replacement, but it’ll tide you over and allow you to avoid Home Depot. The staff at both are really nice, though generally less knowledgable than Frager’s staff.

    • I confess that I almost always shop at HD because it is a little over a mile from my house and I’m always there just to pick up supplies, but on the rare occasion I needed advice or to pick up an uncommon gadget I would go to Fragers. And their gardening section was the best (the only place in the city where I could find a really good selection of drip irrigation components). I was planning a trip there this weekend 🙁

      • Ginkgo Gardens down the street is a wonderful alternative for garden needs, and I feel like their business must be suffering lately because of the 11th Street bridge project. They’re in an odd location already, and now they’re right next to a highway ramp and their sidewalk is blocked off by the construction people most of the time. Give them some love!

  • Terrible. Fragers is a neighborhood institution. I hope they can get back on their feet quickly.

  • As a third generation Washingtonian, I so appreciated going to Frager’s — it reminded me of the old, small town where my father was born and grew up in the late 19th Century: the bleached and well-worn wood floors, the simple signage directing through the warren of well-stocked shelves, the patient, knowledgable staff — “they don’t make ’em like that anymore.”
    I trust they will rebuild with that spirit of old-fashioned service in mind!

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