“Update on U Street Fire – Things are… Not good”


A reader writes in:

“Just wanted to send you these photos from last week’s U Street fire. As you can see, things are… Not good. They don’t think anyone will be allowed to live in the building at least until next week and that residents in the 12th Street side of the building should be making alternative plans for at least another month.”

62 Comment

  • Anyone know what the cause is? Looks like it may have been something on a balcony?

  • Which is precisely one buys rental insurance.

  • My friend sold her apartment one month before the fire, she had owned it for a loooooong time and did extremely well on the deal.
    She’s so lucky! 😮

    • What an odd, petulant angle to be approaching this unfortunate situation. While it may be true that many of the original owners (who back in 2000 paid on average $140,000 for their 2 BR 2 BA units) have seen their condos triple in value, comments about “what a good deal” someone got when the sold are pretty creepy right now.

  • Don’t all new construction buildings have to have sprinkler systems? Did this one? Did it deploy? Did it work?

  • It looks like the fire was really well contained to just that one section of the building. Do I smell good building code/design?

    • It looks like the fire affected the _exterior_ of the building only in that one section… but we don’t know what the interior looks like.

      • The fire was contained because of the sprinklers. A lot of units on the 12th St side suffered extensive smoke and water damage.

        • I walked by this evening and saw quite a number of trucks and vans from a a fire / water damage cleanup company wrapping up work for the day.

      • Yeah, I assume most of the damage is from water: both sprinkler and fire department.

    • If you’ve ever seen the aftermath of sprinklers, you know everything in the affected condos is ruined. Sprinklers are designed to save lives and prevent fires from spreading….but they make a huge mess.
      Maintenance accidentally set off a single sprinkler head in my apartment a few years ago. There was no fire, some careless guy just accidentally hit the sprinkler head w a tool of some sort. Result? So much water, so fast, that the water could not drain. In the three minutes or so before they were able to shut off water, my entire apartment filled like a swimming pool with a few inches of BLACK nasty water. Everything in every room that was touching the floor was ruined. As was everything on the floor of the apartments on either side of me and across the hall. Even worse? The apartments UNDER me, floor after floor after floor, all the way down to the lobby. This was ONE sprinkler, that was only on for a few minutes. It was about a week before I could move back in. They had to replace dry wall, baseboards, flooring, cabinets, etc. I was just happy my small dog, who can’t swim and is too old to jump up on things, wasnt killed. It was that bad, and there wasn’t even a fire or additional water from fire department hoses.
      Basically, I feel so so so bad for these residents. I can’t even imagine.

    • True in that actual fire affected only a handful of units directly.

      • Resident below says 60 units affected, many displaced for 3 months. You don’t appear to have facts straight.

        • Since I live there and have been in and out of the building almost daily since 12/4 and saw the interim damage report, it is a fact that only about 8-10 units had fire in, outside of or next to them. Clearly many others had smoke and/or water issues, but my statement above regarding direct fire damage is in fact the case.

  • All these musings and commentary from people who don’t live in the building would be amusing if nearly 200 residents hadn’t been displaced. Here’s a positive spin on what’s happening from someone who has been a resident-owner in the Lincoln Condominium for 15 years as of this month—the cause of the fire is still under investigation; no people or pets were hurt; the building is secure and guarded; damage by direct fire was limited to less than 10% of the units; 100+ workers representing multiple service providers are working 24/7 to remediate the building and individual units that may have been affected; we have a great condo board, management and, unlike many condominiums, a very substantial reserve fund. All that to say, yes, some residents will have to be out of their homes for longer than anyone would like, especially this time of year, but things are moving at a fast pace to get things not only back in order, but likely even better than before, in what is and will continue to be a very nice condo community.

    • Well put! Looks like they are making good progress. So glad no one was hurt! Huge building code success here.

      • Thanks and indeed they are. It will be a long haul but could have been much worse in a lot of ways! Our building management is on it and providing daily progress updates.

        • That’s not the case. Unfortunately, OVER SIXTY (60) units were damaged and had to be demolished in whole or in part. Most residents were not told that there units were going to be demolished until AFTER the demolition had already happened, which meant their furniture and other belongings/personal items was still inside their unit. Some owners believed there was no damage to their unit (because there was no visible damage) and found out that their walls, floor boards and ceilings had been removed. There has been ABSOLUTELY NO COMMUNICATION FROM THE CONDO BOARD. The entire 12th Street side of the building (approximately 80 units) was informed on Friday night that they would be displaced for at least three months if not longer.

          • That is so horrible. That is similar to what happened to me (on a much much smaller scale at aother building). I came home to find my possessions in trash bags. Before I could get home, management let the water damage remediation crew into my unit, and they just trashed everything that was wet. Some of those items (e.g., my clothes, my childhood stuffed animal, original oil paintings, etc.) were worth the effort to clean, repair, restore, etc. At least I got home before they hauled stuff away, so I was able to dig important stuff out of the trash. But my experience was not even ballpark as bad as this.

    • Great marketing piece! Bravo! Good luck at next condo board election!
      But. Stand by my comment that I feel so so bad for those affected. No matter how you want to spin…that sucks.

    • Also, your eagerness to comment about the “great condo board” means 0% chance that you were in affected unit. Which means you are less qualified to talk about what it’s like to live through this than others who have lived through it in other buildings. But thanks from your input while you sip wine from your unaffected unit.

      • I prefer vodka, our board members are indeed great and effective, and my unit was in fact affected, as were all on my floor, among others, so you’re uninformed on all points you’ve made. My “spinning” was really just a statement of the facts based on living through it And by the way, the vodka I’m sipping is in temporary housing, not in what you referred to as my “unaffected unit.” So you’re wrong on all points you made, lol!

        • Maybe when you stop drinking the vodka you can reflect on why you’re angry about my comment that I feel so so bad for those affected.
          Nonetheless, I’m so sorry to hear that you are having to deal with this. My sprinkler situation – and particularly loss of irreplaceable sentimental items -was a difficult time.
          I hope you are back in your home quickly. Best of luck.

          • This is the first time I have ever posted on PopVille but I noticed that many of your non-fact based commentary goes back many years on here so I presume it’s a hobby. Oh well, “Satis verboreum” as they say! And again, appreciate your concern, so to speak.

          • Huh? No idea what you’re talking about. But sure. Have another have another shot of vodka, honey. Punch the wall. Scream at the moon. Whatever.

          • Based on your historical comments, I had no reason to think you would understand, U Streeter. God love ‘ya!

      • Though I’m curious about the reasons behind the bitter and angry tone of your comments, I am nevertheless grateful that you seem to empathize with me and the other 200 residents of our building who can’t return to their units for many weeks if not months.

        • I shared my personal experience and said “I feel so so so bad for these residents. I can’t even imagine.”
          How on earth is that bitter?
          I’m curious about why that inspired a rah rah piece about how great your condo board and management is? If you are indeed the owner of an effective unit, I would have expected a response more along the lines of “it’s tough, it sucks. Thankfully, everyone is working hard here so it could be much worse. Thanks for your thoughts, prayers, and support.” But hey, a defensive attacking rant is cool too.

    • I’m one of the resident-owners who’s seen significant damage from the smoke and the water.

      I agree about the management. They’ve proven themselves to be very competent and have generally been very good about managing the budget. Regarding the staff, there were a lot of initial hiccups, especially after Ferdinand left –I was one of those hoping he’d be made manager– but they’ve been handling these issues very well. Hat tip to Stephanie and the others.

      Who knew the Thanksgiving Eve fire was just a preview of things to come?

  • RGG – was your unit on the 12th Street side?

  • Many residents who live on 11th St. side of building are moving back in this week.

  • Many, many thanks to all those who have expressed their well-wishes, kind thoughts, and offers of support during what is truly an awful time to all Lincoln residents! My husband and I bought there over two years ago (on the 12th st. side), and love the neighbors, the neighborhood, and the building itself, so I’m sure we are not alone in missing it right now. The neighborhood response on the day of the fire and since has been really amazing–we were outside for over 6 hours that Friday (many with pets), and places like Ben’s Next Door allowed families in with their animals, the 2020 building across the street opened up their common room (along with individual residents offering up their own homes for shelter), &pizza was giving free food to residents, Duffy’s opened early for drinks/food/shelter/baggage storage, and the list goes on. Not to mention the support from the Red Cross that was on-site that day and has been very helpful since in supporting residents in finding housing and other resources. There is a lot to be grateful for in the midst of this disaster, especially during the holidays.

    I did also want to say that I also agree that the building management staff, especially Stephanie and Wesley, have been doing an exceptional job. My insurance adjuster even commented on how quick and organized the response was when we did a walk-through of our almost-completely-destroyed unit a few days later. They are working tirelessly with, as far as I can tell, every insurance agency, restoration company, and move-out service in the greater Metro area around the clock. I am grateful to have them, my neighbors, and my community as we pull through this together, and come out stronger on the other side.

    (Also, in a sad effort to avoid trolling comments after posting this: I am not a member of the board and have no interest in becoming one, this is not a “marketing piece”, there is no agenda here. Just a resident who will miss the Lincoln community for the next 3+ months, but wants to express some gratitude and positivity. K? K.)

    • I want to thank you for your sincere and heartfelt post. It goes a long way in nullifying some of the cynical, ignorant posts that have appeared in this thread.
      Hard to believe, but we went to settlement on our unit on the 12th St. side one week from today, 15 years ago! So, we’ve seen many a resident, management company and so on come and go since 2000. Back then, 2020 Lofts was an auto-body shop with a junk yard dog and Harrison Sq. didn’t even exist, among many other developments, restaurants and clubs.
      Like you mentioned and I did also in an earlier comment, no one wants to be away from their home for what could be 3 months. But with the caliber of our board and the speed with which our management has moved on remediation/renovation, I think that what we’ll be returning to is an even nicer building and condo community than the one we have been displaced from.

      • RGG – you are the only negative person on this thread. Not sure what is going on with the persecution complex…but when folks express sympathy that you’re going though a tough time…maybe don’t go on the attack that they are just cynical bitches? Just a thought.

        • Very appreciative of your well thought out, clever, positive and noncritical comments, “Anon”–thank you so much! Best regards, RGG.

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