Washington, DC

A reader sends in word and a photo of the aftermath above. He writes:

“This happened early this (Monday) morning. 3 houses are damaged. I watched the people in the house with the most damage set off fireworks from their roof deck for a few hours last night. Glad to hear everyone is ok. Red cross is on the scene.”

@dcfireems writes on twitter:

“RI Av NW – fire investigators believe fire originated on rooftop deck – cause – accidental (under investigation)- no inj – 18 displ”

@Alex20001 posted a shot of the fire on twitter:

Photo by twitter user Alex20001

Comments (28)

  1. setting off fireworks from a rowhouse roof deck? wtf? if my neighbors did that and it burned my house i would be beyond pissed off. what asses.
    still. its good no one was hurt.

  2. Prairie Style

    You know a good place to shoot off fireworks? From atop your wooden roof deck in a neighborhood full of rowhouses.

  3. It probably wasn’t them. It was where a random firework landed. Happened years ago.

  4. Yeah, @JohnDC I agree.
    I got home around midnight and saw no less than 20 people on T Street behind these homes setting off fireworks. In addition to the people in the alleys connecting to Seaton.

  5. For what it’s worth, there is no chance that the fireworks on T caused this. I watched most of them and while they could’ve hit some houses on T and North Capitol, they wouldn’t reach Rhole Island. But I agree that it could have been people doing similar stuff on another street.

  6. As the person who submitted this to PoP, I can tell you it almost certainly was the folks on the deck.

    I was sitting outside for a few hours watching them set off fireworks. Among these fireworks were sparklers and the things that sit on the ground and create fountains and spin around shooting sparks. It would have been easy for a few embers to get down below the decking and smolder for a while until creating a massive fire.

    The odds of this happening are enormous vs a random firework landing on the same roof deck and causing the fire…

    Anyone who continues to maintain that its more likely to be a random firework is just angling to be the defense attorney when these people get sued…

  7. The 4th in DC is very frustrating for me

    setting off fireworks near residential areas is… ill advised

    how do you sway hundreds of neighbors you know and love to abandon their treasured ritual?

  8. By calling the Fire Marshal and MPD out for there unwillingness to do their jobs to protect our neighborhoods by enforcing DC’s fireworks laws. This isn’t some quaint tradition being threatened by out of touch regulators. These are dangerous explosives being operated by kids and drunks with devastating consequences and damage to person and property. Dense housing is one of many reasons you’re required to be 21 or over, licensed and carry insurance to put on a legal fireworks display. Call or write the Fire Marshal and demand they work up a plan of enforcement with MPD.

    Fire Marshal D.C. Fire Department Fire Prevention Division
    441 4th Street, NW, Suite 370-N
    Washington, DC 20001 202-727-1614

  9. G-o-o-d l-u-c-k.

    Anti-fireworks people = gentrifiers.

  10. Eric in Ledroit

    Seriously. Best to just be in your house to act quickly in case something catches on fire, and enjoy the show.
    It’s quite incredible up on our roof deck. And enforcement of the regulations would be completely impossible, at least in my neighborhood.

  11. The sheer stupidity of this statement makes my head hurt.

  12. blanket statements are always correct and useful.

  13. It is amazing the power held by the masses in this city. Incredible public displays of outlawed pyrotechnics all over the place. Shutting down public streets while children frolic amidst the flame and smoke (happened to me last night, stuck for like 8 minutes in my car as an entire roll of firecrackers was lit in front of me – way cool). With from what I could tell zero concern by authorities. What would you have them do, arrest or cite practically the entire city? Pretty awesome power!

  14. Alcohol + Fireworks = Houses on Fire

  15. I live in 6 RI Ave (two doors down) and am listening to the sound of firecrackers outside right now. Someone missed the memo.

  16. That second picture is not of this fire, by the way. The house is actually several houses down to the left and it did not come out the front of the house.

  17. I kind of like the pre- and post-Fourth fireworks extravaganza (as long as no one gets hurt). Kind of reminds me of the loggers setting off sticks of dynamite around the Fourth back home.

  18. ontarioroader

    I think a 2-alarm fire that leaves 18 people homeless might constitute ‘hurt’. That said – there isn’t enough political will or law enforcement resources to stop these displays, so until an entire block is razed, or a large family burned to death it’s probably just going to continue.

  19. I get what you’re saying, but… if you grew up someplace with loggers nearby, I would venture to guess that you probably didn’t live in a rowhouse attached to 30 others on a block just like hundreds of others in very close proximity, where thousands of people live. What might be appropriate in an area where you live on a quarter-acre lot (or a much larger one), with low population density, and little traffic is not necessarily safe or appropriate in the city.

    And now I am going to ignore all of the rest of the posts/comments on fireworks because the same argument has been held on PoP for the last 4 years and it never gets anywhere but ugly.

  20. Wouldn’t it be easier just to ban the sale of fireworks in the city?

    And everyone who thinks that fireworks on residential streets are fun try to explain that to your 2 year old at 1am!

  21. I completely agree – or to your pets. That’s why we go out of town every year over the 4th and ask a neighbor to keep a close eye on our house to make sure that what happened to the house on Rhode Island doesn’t happen to ours.

    And now I’m really out of here.

  22. ontarioroader

    “Wouldn’t it be easier just to ban the sale of fireworks in the city?”

    Didn’t work for liquor in the 20’s, didn’t work for guns from ’75-’08, doesn’t work for crack. If people really want ‘bad’ stuff they’ll get it… unless you want to end up with a ton of folks in jail and a sustained criminal underclass [re: crack].

  23. This is part of that DC ghetto “charm” that hipsters love so much because it gives them some form of douchebag street cred.

    Fearing for my life walking down the street as children set off huge amounts of explosives is not my idea of fun. And, people, let’s not forget that these things are *dangerous.* And where are the parents? (Rhetorical question – probably drunk).

    It amazes me that only one house went up in flames.

  24. if children setting off fireworks makes you fear for your life, how do you work up the nerve to cross the street? Cars are far more likely to harm you.

  25. I agree that some folks will still be able to get them but it won’t be in these mass quantities to last for a week or more.

  26. this was a reply to ontarioroader


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