Dear PoPville – How Can We Stop This Homeless Man From Setting Fires in Columbia Heights?

by Prince Of Petworth April 4, 2013 at 1:30 pm 38 Comments

Alley between the 1400 block of Columbia and Irving St, NW

Dear PoPville,

Since the construction staging site went up in the alleyway between columbia and irving at the 1400 block in late august to early september 2012 there has been a homeless man living under the stairs of the condemned church. He is a hoarder and had managed to amass a huge pile of stuff in and around the stairs. Basically kept to himself, was just an eyesore and made us nervous.

However, the past few weeks he has set 3 fires. The first got out of control and spread into the church, due to all of the hoarded stuff in the alleyway. We cleaned out the alleyway and didn’t come back for a week, when i smelled the second fire. I am writing to you at 2 AM early Thursday, right after the 3rd fire has been put out. I have been told to call 911 immediately when I see him, but since that doesn’t seem to work, I was wondering what else can be done on my part to take care of this problem.

Yes, I am sympathetic to his plight but he is putting our lives at risks by setting these fires. In addition, I have been the one to smell it first due to our proximity to the fires and now I’m fearing for my safety.

Any and all suggestions would be helpful. Thanks.

Perhaps the DC Mental Health Mobile Response Team could intervene:

Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES): 202-673-9319 (24hrs, 7 days per week)
Mobile Crisis Services (MCS): 202-673-9300 (9am -1am, 7 days per week)
Homeless Outreach Program (HOP): 202-673-9124 (9am -8pm , M-F)


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