Big Row House Fire in Hill East


A reader reports:

“It happened around 5:30am this morning on the 16th street just south of D Street, SE.”

@dcfireems tweets:

“UPDATE: 400blk of 16th St SE. 2 pts transported. 1 w/critical inj; 1 w/serious but NLT”

21 Comment

  • Oh wow, that’s a horrifying photo. Praying for a speedy recovery for all injured 🙁

  • That’s terrifying! As a new owner of an attached house what can the attached neighbors even do other than evacuate of course?

    • Take your smoke detectors seriously and don’t cheap out on your insurance.
      Oh, and keep an eye on your neighbors. I called DCRA on the house next to mine when it was being used as an illegal rooming house. The residents were overloading outlets with heat-generating appliances like hot plates and toaster ovens.

      • Did you know they were overloading the circuits or did you call because of the # of people, and they found it out? Just trying to figure out what to look for in this situation.

        • I could see in one of the windows from my window (I didn’t go actively snooping or anything). Tangles of cords, power strips plugged into power strips, hotplates on the floor…

      • Thanks! Yeah we have a monitored smoke detector with our security system so that makes me feel better.

      • DCRA can also inspect if the house is over-populated. There’s a limit on how many people can live together in a “one family rental residence” before the landlord has to get a “rooming house” license. The “rooming house” license has much stricter regulations, similar to those for a hotel.
        5 person = one family rental residence. 6 person = rooming house.

      • What can DCRA do about this? We have an older low income neighbor/homeowner who, without getting into detail, has all sorts of terribly dangerous code violations on their property. I doubt they have the money to bring everything up to code, and I certainly don’t want them forced from their house. On the other hand, I worry constantly that I’ll wake up one night to see the house up in flames.

        • You might run the risk of getting them fined if you call in DCRA. I don’t know how it works with owner-occupied houses… I feel like the owner could simply deny them access for an inspection. (My case was different, as the owner was not in the area.)
          I wonder if this is something you could discuss with the Office on Aging. Surely they’ve dealt with older folks who could stay in their homes if only the home could be made safe…

          • Similar thing on my block. One corner row house (2 story + basement with only rear entrance) has at least 15 residents, mostly immigrants. Additional power and plumbing is run to the basement through a garden hose and extension cords on the exterior of the house. I’ve called DCRA twice out of concern for the safety of the residents (especially with only one basement entrance), but nothing has been done. I’ve heard DCRA has “instructions from above” to not harass immigrant group homes. I don’t know what to do.

    • I don’t know how much it would help or if it just gives me a false sense of hope, but I made sure to have spigots in both front and back of home with hoses attached and ready to go. Of course this only would help me once I turn back on the valves after winter is over.

      • Probably better to have fire extinguishers — and aren’t most fires these days electrical fires?

        • Yes, definitely fire extinguishers, at least two. And they need to be replaced periodically. They lose pressurization over time.

      • False sense of hope. Most garden hoses on municipal systems have a flow rate of 2.5 – 5 gallons per minute (GPM) depending on hose bib, friction less (length), and nozzle type. 2- 2 1/2 inch attack lines off the truck can do 200-400 gallons per minute or more. Garden hose flow would likely evaporate/steam up before even reaching the seat of the fire, even a small one.

        Get a decent ABC extinguisher, check the gauge, and learn how to use it. You’ll be better off.

  • I think the house to the left of it was JUST renovated in the past year.

    • Yes it was. Sold in September 2014. Pretty significant damage to the back corner and the 2nd floor balcony.

  • We take our smoke detectors VERY seriously. We change the backup batteries every time we change the clocks for Daylight Savings Time. Fires are scary things.
    Oh, and we change the batteries on all our TV/Cable remote controls at the same time. Don’t want to be caught not being able to change the TV from “Cops” to “Maury Povich” to “Friends”. Don’t want to get up from the sofa!!

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