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“City Market at O had Two Stove fires in 2 months”

by Prince Of Petworth December 23, 2015 at 1:10 pm 35 Comments

Andrew tweets us the photo above Dec. 20th “Fire at City Market at O”

A reader reports:

“-The fire department has come twice to put out a fire on the 2nd floor and the 7th floor of building 800 P Street NW.

-Both fires were started because something caught on fire on the stove because the tenants were not aware the stove had turned on

-The stoves are electric and have no safety lock. You can see pictures of the stoves on the City Market at O gallery page on the website. And you can see the layout of the apartments on the website too. The kitchen is in the hallway making it even easier to walk by and bump the knobs when walking by because the halls are so narrow.

-Management has been informed by residents that they have had things catch on fire on the stove because they are not aware that it has turned on and that something needs to be done to make them safer but to date they have not done anything to remedy this problem. They received this noticed after the first time the fire department came in November and did nothing and now the fire department came this Sunday and they still have not said anything to the residents or done anything.

-The sprinklers this Sunday and at least a foot of water filled several of the apartments on the 7th floor of 800 P Street NW causing water damage.”

  • “You can see pictures of the stoves on the City Market at O gallery page on the website.”
    In case anyone else was curious:

    • The kitchen isn’t in the hallway in the photo above, but from what the OP says, it sounds like it is in many of the other floor plans.
      It looks like the problem must be that the ranges — unlike most I’ve seen — have the knobs at the front rather than at the back, and the angled panel thing with the knobs on it extends slightly beyond the depth of the counters.

      • rctran

        I’ve got this type of stove in my apartment (don’t live at City Market at O); you kind of have to depress the knob and they click into and out of the “off” setting. There’s also a light on the stove that indicates if the cook top is hot.. You’d have to really slam into the stove at the right angle for this to turn on..

        • Yeah, I was puzzled by that too. But if it is indeed happening, seems like it would behoove the management to replace the stoves. Sure, the building’s overall insurance will cover the cost of the fire-related repairs… but I expect the premiums have skyrocketed, especially with a second incident.

      • Truxton Thomas

        We have a gas range with knobs on the front, which I guess is so you don’t have to reach over an open flame to turn them. Not sure I’ve ever seen this style for an electric, though. We have occasionally turned the knob and started the gas on accident, though I guess an electric won’t click and alert you that it’s on.

        However, it doesn’t surprise me that people at City Market are so oblivious. I work with attorneys.

        • Good point on the gas — it’s been forever since I had a gas stove, but now that you mention it, I vaaaguely remember the knobs being at the front.
          Apparently these stoves are electric, though.

          • AG

            I just switched to an electric stove after using gas for years (and my previous electric stove had the knobs at the back). I’m constantly paranoid that I’ve left the stove on. At least with a gas stove you can see the flame or smell the gas if you have a wonky stove like my previous one that likes to go out on its own. That said, this isn’t negligence on the part of City Market, it’s a very common stove design that millions of people have. You just have to learn to be careful. It isn’t difficult to not leave flammable things on or near the stove and make sure you turn the burner off if you’re leaving food on there. I guess money can’t buy you common sense.

    • The floor plans:
      It looks like the studio and the junior one-bedroom both have galley-style kitchens that are in hallways. The one-bedroom with den and the two-bedroom have the stove opposite an island, so presumably there’s less risk of bumping the knobs by accident.

  • Anonymous

    How much are they paying for a stove in a hallway?!? What a dumb joke.
    There’s a sucker born every minute….

    • According to the website, $1935 to $2060 for the two floorplans that have galley kitchens in hallways.

    • CityMarketResident

      It’s really not bad and a good use of space. Being offensive isn’t the best way to talk about someone’s apartment and their lifestyle.

      • CityDweller

        I agree with you with you CityMarketResident. Bashing someone isn’t really the way to go or the point of this discussion/article. If you are carrying a ton of bags or a box through the galley kitchen you could easily bump the handles without realizing it. Unlike a gas stove, where it is obvious because of the flame that it is on, an electric stove with the knobs on the front should probably come with some sort of safety feature or shouldn’t be the type used for such a narrow hall. In any case, now that management realizes that there is a problem with these stoves, maybe they’ll add some sort of safety feature.

  • CityMarketResident

    I live at City Market and it is completely frustrating that people are this unaware of what they are doing. The latest ‘fire’ has caused severe headaches to all the residents in the West Building. Fans have been put into people’s apartments, baseboards have been torn up, work crews beginning their work at 0800, and lack of consideration from the Management with regards to the entering into our units.

  • sproc

    I can’t recall having a range–gas or electric–in a long time that didn’t have push to turn knobs, certainly not on one as modern these appear to be.

    • Anon Spock

      My 7yo electric has simple turn buttons, no push, but the red “it’s hot” light is there. I can’t imagine living in a place so narrow that you could turn on your stove by walking by that you wouldn’t give it a quick look. That light comes on at least for me, as soon it’s turned on.

      • CityDweller

        I live in one of those City Market apartments with the kitchen in the hallway and you have no idea how narrow it is. Two people can’t walk down the hall at the same time without one having to lean into the wall or up against the stove or counter to let the other past. If I open the laundry closet, which is also in the hallway, no one can get to the bathroom or front door. They have to wait to get by me or if you open the dishwasher then the person in the bedroom has to wait for you to close it in order to come through the bedroom door. It is more like a studio turned 1 bedroom. If it weren’t for the amenities like a dog park, concierge etc. and location we would have picked a larger place.

        • Anon Spock

          I believe you which is to say you’d have to be pretty silly to not check the stove if you can barely fit down the hall; although I’d place as much blame on the poor design that’s taking up extra space.
          It’s all a balancing act. I don’t care about metro proximity nor amenities which is why I’ve never lived in a big building and probably never will. I get why those things matter to some though.

          • CityDweller

            It can be easy to forget to look down at the stove every time you let someone pass by. Plus, it doesn’t take much effort to push these in and turn them. Stove aside, if you can afford it, I do recommend checking out the building. We moved here from NYC and it is nice to live close to downtown and be stone throw away from the metro and have the modern amenities like a dog park, pool, grills etc.. It’s more for young professionals, which we are, and not so much for families. We are looking to upgrade to a larger apartment in the building but it still wouldn’t fix the problem of the stoves having knobs in front.

  • CityMarketResident

    Another point: There is a simple light that shows if the oven is ‘on’. This isn’t really that complicated of a matter and I do not blame management for the ovens. I blame management for the handling of the situation after the incident is resolved.

    • Blithe

      Does the light also indicate when the stove top burners are on? If so, for me, this would be a very useful feature.

      • SWChick

        at least for my stove which I’m 99% sure is the same, the light itself doesn’t tell you which burners are on but the knob that is not lined up to “off” lets you know. Also, The light stays on if the stove is warm, so it actually really helps but again if you’re not paying attention and the stove is on low you may not even realize.

        • “if you’re not paying attention” sums up most avoidable Darwinistic accidents. The type of person who accidentally turns on their stove and starts a fire probably falls in the same Venn diagram sector as the ones responsible for the warnings that coffee is hot and that hair dryers shouldn’t be used in the bath tub.

          • Truxton Thomas

            I like baths. I like my toaster. What’s the worst that could happen?

        • Blithe

          Thanks SWChick. I’ve mostly had gas stoves/ovens, and when I had an electric stove it was definitely the economy model.
          I agree with Justin, in theory. In practice, I can see how someone could brush by a knob in a galley kitchen, and turn it on without noticing it. (My stoves haven’t had push and click knobs.) I would fervently hope that such an incident would not overlap with anything landing inadvertently on the stove.

  • SWChick

    I too have the same stove and for a resident, it is easy to see when the stove is on. if you have guests, not so much. Case in point I was at a small get together at The K City Vista Condos last month, I looked down at the stove and saw the red indicator light was on. No one else noticed. The scary part is that it was an Airbnb so no one was familiar with the stove because they were not the actual tenants. I turned it off but Im guessing if i wasn’t there it may have stayed on for some time unnoticed. :-/

    • CP

      That’s odd- everyone I know at the K have gas stoves…

  • CityMarketResident

    I just moved into City Market at O about a month ago, and I have a galley kitchen as mentioned in the above article. The first week that I moved into my new apartment, I accidentally turned on the cook top, and unbeknownst to me at the time, set a large box on fire (that had been placed on the cook top while unpacking groceries). Luckily my boyfriend smelled the smoke from the other room and was able to smother the flames before any real damage was caused. Our fire alarm only went off for 30 seconds before we were able to air out the apartment. I felt very silly and shaken up by the event, but thought that it was a weird fluke or carelessness on my part, so I didn’t notify mgmt.

    Now I’m super careful not to brush up again the cook top, or to place items on it. Perhaps there is something to the design of the stove, combined with the galley kitchen floor plan, leading to all of these accidental fires though!

  • Crittenden Res

    Wonder if the child proof knobs would help? They go over the dials and I doubt any accidental bump would affect it. As an interim solution if people are worried.


  • 7thFloorCityMarketResident

    I live on the floor that was flooded. The stove is really not complicated at all. Just don’t put boxes on the stove!!! It’s really that simple.

    This recent fire was caused by someone leaving a box on the stove and accidentally hitting the stove on. If the box wasn’t on the stove, this would all have been avoided. Just use common sense. Crazy thing is the people who caused the fire/flood moved in that afternoon! Welcome to the building alright

    • cityoresident

      7thFloorCityMarketResident first of all keep your crappy judgements to yourself. im sure it makes you feel good talking down to people and having something to talk about during your miserable happy hour dates at Chaplin, especially if you dont know the whole story. i have talked to MULTIPLE tenants that said they also experienced issues with the stoves. One person mentioned that they never cook and the stove accidentally came on and burned the plastic off his pan. now granted there shouldnt be boxes on the stove and apparently the movers put the boxes on the stove the day the tenant was moving in. i live in the east building and its ALMOST impossible to ‘bump’ the stove and turn it on.

  • nonnyhey

    Weird to me that everyone finds front burners odd for electric stoves….I have only had electric until two years ago when I got gas stove, and every single electric (at least 6 models if I include my time living at m parents plus five apartments) were set up just as my current gas stove is – – – knobs at the front “face panel” so to speak of the stovetop…nothing weird about this at all…

    • JoDa

      On the flip side, I’ve had electric my whole life, and the knobs have always either been right on the cooktop (for separate in-counter models) or on the back panel. I now have gas with the front knobs and it makes me a little nervous. We’ve had several incidents of people bumping them and having the gas run, seems like always when they’re on the way out since they never seem to be home when others notice. Our arrangements don’t sound anything like this (we all have galley kitchens separate from the main living space that you don’t have to walk through to get anywhere else/out), and it still happens a couple times a year (probably more, but they’re home to smell it and just shut it off before anyone else notices). I’m just glad my dog isn’t tall enough to bump them, because I can totally see that happening.
      It doesn’t make any sense to me why “childproof”/bump-proof knobs aren’t industry standard. Pushing IN then turning is much harder to do accidentally, yet I’ve only seen a few ranges with that feature.

  • HaileUnlikely

    I wonder how many accidental stove fires other comparably priced luxury apartments in hip neighborhoods (i.e., places drawing from the same pool of tenants) have. I’ve heard of a few over the years, but not many, and nowhere else have I heard of two in a short period of time, and nowhere else have I heard of them being caused by people turning the stove on altogether accidentally as opposed to accidentally leaving it on after having deliberately turned it on to cook. Don’t get me wrong – I love to make fun of dumb rich people with no life skills as much as the next guy – but something tells me that the design of the stove in conjunction with the placement of the stove is unusually problematic here. And if I were a neighbor, a building manager, or an insurance company, I would like my chances of success better if I were to mitigate an electromechanical safety hazard than if I were to plead with all of my residents to “use common sense.”

    • cityoresident

      HaileUnlikely, the stove issue has happened more than just the two mentioned in this article. Its poor layout design and faulty stoves.

  • theDCway

    This is just a side note but why are people even talking about how much these people are paying for their apartments or whether they are rich or not?

    “How much are they paying for a stove in a hallway?!? What a dumb joke.
    There’s a sucker born every minute….”

    “I love to make fun of dumb rich people with no life skills as much as the next guy”

    “According to the website, $1935 to $2060 for the two floorplans that have galley kitchens in hallways.”

    Regardless of financial status, safety is a concern for all. I agree with #HaileyUnlikely that it is probably a combo of people needing to be careful but there really does seem to be a faulty design issue. But generalizations about these residents, that they are all rich and most likely dumb and have no life skills thereby implying they are at partially at fault for the fire is unfair. There are people who are middle class and lower class who cause fires to their galley kitchens everyday. Perhaps, there are even buildings with faulty designed galley kitchen with people of such financial status. Would we so quick to call them dumb and say they lack life skills? Secondly, have you ever stopped to think that it is possible that some of these rich people you are so quick to judge became financially successful they are street smart or book smart or business savy, hardworking, and that is how they got to where they are at? My point is that, regardless of financial status, we should not be so quick to blame people for the cause of their own injuries. Not everyone in that building who has suffered a loss, such as the entire 7th floor who was flooded, started one of those fires and they lost so much. Let’s show some compassion. These are people’s lives at stake and homes whether they paid a couple hundred or a couple thousand for it.


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