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“Flames were 20+ feet high when I finally woke up and saw it.” – 5 Adults, 4 Dogs Displaced

by Prince Of Petworth February 21, 2017 at 6:47 am 13 Comments


A reader reports:

“There was a huge fire at 5am in the house at the corner of 10th and Rock Creek Church Ext – right next to the mural. Flames were 20+ feet high when I finally woke up and saw it.”

video by Piama Habibullah

From AlertDC:

“DC Fire EMS reports the fire has been knocked down with 5 displacements (adults) with 4 dogs. The street closures remain the same at this time due to fire apparatus. Red Cross, DDOT, MPD and Ward Outreach have been notified.

Street Closures:
3700 block of 9th St NW
3600 block of New Hampshire Ave NW
3600 block of Rock Creek Church Rd NW.”

DC Fire & EMS reported:

“9th St fire under control. Still no injuries reported. Request @RedCrossNCR for 5 displaced adult occupants.”

Update 7am:

“DDOT reports the fire activity in the 3700 block of 9th St NW has cleared. The following street closures have reopened.
3700 block of 9th St NW
3600 block of New Hampshire Ave NW
3600 block of Rock Creek Church Rd NW.”

  • anonymous

    I was wondering what all those sirens were for last night! Is there any contact information so we can help out – do they need dog sitters? Donations?

    • Hello friends,

      I set up a gofundme account for our neighbors.

      Please donate and DM me via @relaoutloud on Twitter if you have questions.

      Thank you in advance for anything you can give.

  • F

    The empty lot between the two apartment buildings is a problem, I wonder if that played a part here. I had 311 and other DC agencies work on sealing up the fence and painting over the huge MS graffiti a couple of weeks ago, they did a good job once I reached the right person. This corner could be awesome, wish the owner would develop the blighted lot and the Raymond school would pull the fence down to maybe convert the grass to a mini park or something. Also, there’s a serial car window breaker around here, more glass than anywhere.

    • neighbor

      Completely agree with this. I walk past Raymond and this empty lot 2x a day on my commute and have the exact same thoughts. To top it off, that corner also has mattresses and other large garbage dumped there about once a week. Taking out the damaged chain link fence and developing the lot would go a long way.

      From what I could see this morning, the fire did take place in the empty lot and extensively damaged the side and stairs of the house next door. So sorry for the family – please post info if there is a place we can donate.

      • vicarz

        FYI FWIW that empty lot just went for sale, and sold, so it appears development in that tiny space is imminent. Now whether DC permitting process and neighbor veto power will allow the blight to end is another matter.

  • Daduf96

    Such a shame. I hope everyone is alright.

    If the cause of the fire ends up having something to do with the empty (poorly boarded up) lot that is for sale next to that building, it won’t surprise me at all. That lot has become a hangout and thoroughfare for gang activity, drugs, and all sorts of problems for the neighborhood around 9th Street and Rock Creek Church Road. The amount of vandalism and robberies that take place around that area because of that poorly maintained lot is ridiculous. The city has received countless complaints about that lot in the past (I know because I have called myself and know others have, too), but no one seems to do anything to remedy it.

  • Neighborly

    Like those who have commented above, it is tragic yet unsurprising that a fire would begin in the abandoned lot next to the apartments. I have called the city numerous times to complain about the horrific state of the lot, the heaps of abandoned household goods, trash, and debris rotting away there, and the constant gang-related vandalism of the plywood “fence” around the property.

    As another neighbor who walks past this lot numerous times per day, I can also attest to the smashed out windows of cars parked on the street in front of it and the shattered glass all over the street and sidewalk on this block every single day. I’d estimate that cars are vandalized in this spot 2-3 times per week, and that’s just what I observe during my commute. I often feel bad for the out-of-town visitors who unwittingly park in this constant crime zone.

    I’d really like to see the city address the empty lot and the constant criminal activity that occur on this block of Rock Creek Church Rd. It is the only part of the neighborhood where I feel constantly unsettled when passing through. Whether it is through additional surveillance (police cameras) or additional presence patrols, something has to give before more property is vandalized or worse.

  • Anonymous

    Hi All – I am one of the owners of the boarded up lot and we have been working to clean it up and installed a chain-link fence today. We will be building a 2-unit nice condo project there and there will be daily activity there soon. We bought the lot in October and plan to install security cameras after this incident (we have no idea what happened)

    • Neighborly

      I’m happy to hear this! Thanks for updating us on your plans. The surrounding Petworth/CoHi neighborhoods have received plenty of recent investment, and are improving rapidly. While this block has had its fair share of issues, I have no doubt that additional investment, attention, and TLC will make this location on Rock Creek Church Rd a highly desirable place to live. The proximity to the Georgia Ave/Petworth Metro stop is hard to beat.

      • vicarz

        Oh thanks! Above I was just noting the lot was for sale, and sold, with development likely. I agree the lot is “blight” but have seen multiple attempts to keep it save and boarded up. I worry that the anti-development forces may make it a challenge to get your permits approved. To that end, I encourage reaching out to the ANC super early, expecting long possible delays with permits, if you can afford it I hear lawyers matter, and letters and direct outreach to the community / neighbors can make a big difference.

        Related – I don’t think the problems with the “lot” are based on the lot at all. The constant flow of mattresses and other furniture and trash is not originating from that lot – it appears that people within walking distance are dumping there. Broken windows usually mean burglaries, and a friend of mine had a car window smashed to rifle through it in that area.

        There is graffiti all over this area – particularly on the back of that apt building. The mural hasn’t been damaged which is a plus, and the owners of the apt. building are fighting a regular battle by cleaning all the graffiti and response-graffiti.

        Glad someone is going to do something with that property. Hope the rest of the neighborhood keeps getting better without losing it’s cultural and economic diversity.

        • vicarz

          PS the lot gets less illegal dumping than that corner of Rock Creek Church and 9th.

  • PetworthResident

    I live on this street and would love to know how to help the families that were displaced. Is there anyway to find out that information?


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