Archive for the ‘Fires’ category

Breaking: Fire at Fish in the Hood Today, No Injuries

April 14, 2017

UPDATE: As reported by the Washington Post, the fire was rule accidental with two injuries, one a civilian with minor injuries treated on site and one by a fire fighter.

A short time ago it was reported that there was a fire at Fish in the Hood, aka Bill’s Seafood Kitchen, at Otis and Georgia Avenue. According to DC Fire and EMS there were no injuries.

I don’t know the extent of the fire at this time. I wish Bill all the best and hope that the damage is minor so that this great Park View business can reopen soon!

1935 Photo Shows Aftermath of Fire Truck and Streetcar Collision

February 9, 2016

I recently found this photo from 1935 that shows the aftermath of an accident between a fire engine and a street car in 1935. Below is the photo and the story behind it.

scan0001(Four firemen were seriously injured when a fire engine was struck by a street care and spun around like a straw in the wind as it was speeding to a fire, 5/8/1935.)

On the evening of May 8, 1935, an east bound fire engine responding to a fire was struck by a south bound street car at the intersection of 11 and V streets, NW. The engine was a combination hose and pumper that was on its way to extinguish a small fire in a bus, housed in a garage near Georgia Avenue and W Street, NW.

The impact overturned the fire engine on the sidewalk and injured the four firemen on the truck, hurling one of them about 75 feet. The most severely injured was Private Raymond L. Creel, 30, of 413 D Street NE, who was taken to Garfield Hospital. The fire truck came to rest on the southeast corner of the intersection facing west. The front end of the street car was badly damaged, but the motorman and the few passengers escaped injury.

At the time of the accident, there was little traffic and the way had appeared clear for the fire engine. Charges were brought against the motorman of the Capital Transit Co. streetcar for failing to give the right of way to the fire truck. A report into the accident determined that the fire siren was being operated and could be heard blocks away and that the street car was being operated at an excessive rate of speed when approaching a street intersection while fire apparatus sirens were sounding.

By the end of June, all the firemen, although badly injured, were reported to have recovered or to be recovering.

Further Reading

_____. “Fire Engine’s Crash Blamed on Motorman.” The Washington Post, June 21, 1935, p. 11.

_____. “Four Appointed to Probe Crash of Fire Engine.” The Washington Post, May 10, 1935, p. 18.

_____. “Motorman Arraigned for Fire Truck Crash.” The Washington Post, May 24, 1935, p. 18.

_____. “Motorman’s Case Delayed to June 11.” The Evening Star, May 23, 1935, p. B-1.

_____. “Motorman Held at Fault in Crash.” The Evening Star, June 20, 1935, p. B-1.

_____. “Probe is Ordered After Fire Engine Crash; Four Hurt.” The Evening Star, May 9, 1935, p. B-1.

_____. “Street Car and Fire Engine.” The Evening Star, May 9, 1935, p. A-10.

_____. “Trolley-Engine Collision Story Told in Court.” The Washington Post, June 26, 1935, p. 4.

_____. “Trolley Hits Fire Engine; Four Inured [sic].” The Washington Post, May 9, 1935, p. 1.

Rarely Seen D.C. Mural: Waylande Gregory’s “Democracy in Action”

August 30, 2013
Democracy in Action's showing the left portion of the mural

Democracy in Action’s showing the left portion of the mural

Recently, I had an opportunity to see the ceramic mural Democracy in Action created by WPA artist Waylande Gregory (1905-1971). It is located in the west court of the Daly Building at 300 Indiana Avenue, NW. The building houses several District agencies, including the MPD headquarters and the Superior Court Judges Office. The west court of the building is locked and not open to the public without making prior arrangements.  With this in mind, I took some photos during my visit for those interested in public art.

From what I’ve been able to read, Democracy in Action is Gregory’s largest WPA relief mural and dates to 1941. It depicts D.C.’s Police and Fire Departments. The finished work measures approximately 81 feet long and eight feet high. As you can imagine, it is difficult to photograph.

Section of the mural just left of center.

Section of the mural just left of center.

According to the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Art Inventories Catalog:

[The] mural is composed of 500 ceramic tiles depicting the functions of the District of Columbia Police Department, Fire Department, and of the Department of Motor Vehicles. The five scenes of the frieze portray, left to right, traffic officials directing vehicles at a busy downtown intersection, traffic officials helping pedestrians along a sidewalk while a crowd of demonstrators carry placards in the background, firemen fighting a fire with water hoses while a child is carried to safety wrapped in a blanket, police apprehending criminals on foot, and the police motorcycle squad stopping to return a lost dog to a concerned boy.

The mural has had controversy associated with it from its creation. The panel depicting two policemen in a violent confrontation with two African American males offended the Police Department, which is headquartered in the building. At its unveiling, the police department protested and the mayor asked for the murals removal and destruction. Eleanor Roosevelt and Paul Manship, representing the US Fine Arts Commission, intervened and save it. The panel remained but the entrance door to the courtyard to view the frieze was kept locked.

Section of the mural just right of center.

Section of the mural just right of center.

According to art historian Thomas C. Folk, “The message represented by the police depicted in the mural seems somewhat confusing; and, might be taken as representing police brutality. But, this theme does look forward to the Civil Rights Movement. Gregory thrived on publicity and probably knew of the Social Realist painter, Philip Evergood’s controversial painting, “American Tragedy,” 1937, which depicts a struggle between picketers and policemen at a steel mill in Gary, Indiana.”

The right section of the mural containing the controversial panel.

The right section of the mural containing the controversial panel.

Rowhouse Fire at 633 Park Road Last Night

May 25, 2013
633 Park Road, NW

633 Park Road, NW

I awoke to learn that there was a rowhouse fire at 633 Park Road, NW, last night (h/t to @benbisbee). According to DC Fire Fighters Local 36 twitter feed, 633 Park Road was one of two house fires last night.  Both were extinguished quickly with no injuries.

633 Park Road is part of the property that, along with the parking lot next to it, belongs to the New Commandment Church, 625 Park Road. The property was recently on the market but is no longer listed. I currently don’t know if the property changed hands or if it was merely taken off the market.

Fire Strikes 600 Irving Street NW Today

August 29, 2012

Photo courtesy of Lisa Markuson

Thanks to readers for sending in the following details. Earlier today, around 9:45 a.m., there was a fairly large fire at 600 Irving Street, NW. This is located on the south side of Irving between Warder and Georgia Avenue. DCFD’s response to the fire was significant and close Irving to traffic well after 11:30 a.m.

DCFD described the fire as being a heavy fire on the on the 2nd floor in a 2 story middle rowhouse. Over 50 firefighters responded to the fire, which was brought under control in under 15 minutes and quickly knocked down. There were no reported injuries.

Readers familiar with this property may recall that in the past they have been among the houses in the neighborhood that has some decent decorations for Halloween.

I’m glad that there were no injuries and hope the damage is not significant enough to prevent a speedy repair.

Photo courtesy of Michael Petrick


Fire Damages Sweet Mango

August 4, 2012

There was a fire at Sweet Mango Cafe sometime between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. this morning (8/4/12). While I don’t have any details about how extensive the fire was or how long it will take to repair it, it appears that it was another kitchen fire. I’ll provide more details as I get them.

Readers may recall that there was also a fire at Sweet Mango on December 4, 2010. That fire was also in the kitchen area and caused  approximately $100,000 in damages.

Below are some photographs from this morning.


Car Fire at Armed Forced Retirement Home

March 19, 2011

Shortly before noon today, one of the AFRH Security cars caught fire. I do not currently know the cause. The fire was located on the far southwest corner of the grounds, near the intersection of Park Place and Kenyon Street.


Engine Company No. 24 was Leader in Modern Fire Service

December 16, 2010

Image from the Washington Times, June 11, 1912

Engine Company No. 24, built in 1911 at the intersection of Rock Creek Church Road and Georgia Avenue, was an excellent example of early twentieth century suburban firehouse design in Washington, D.C.  As the first fully motorized fire company in D.C., Engine Company No. 24 was also associated with technological advancements that would change fire fighting and firehouse design forever.

It abandoned the use of horses for automotive power in July and August 1912 for an automobile piston pumping engine and a combination chemical and hose truck . The switch to up-to-date equipment was heralded by the District of Columbia and seen as an achievement in attaining the first-rank status that other major American cities were achieving.

The images above and below show the automobile pumping engine that was located at Engine No. 24. It was the second piece of automotive fire equipment purchased by the District.

Due to the novelty of the technology, prior to placing the engine in service it was subjected to endurance tests. It was first tested at a cistern where it passed the requirement of displacing 900 gallons of water a minute. This was followed by the engine being kept in continual operation for a period of six hours.

The engine was built by the Ahrens-Fox Fire Engine Company of Cincinnati and cost the District $8,500.

Image from the Library of Congress


Fire Damages Sweet Mango

December 5, 2010

According to USA9, Sweet Mango suffered significant damage after a fire broke out last Saturday night, December 4, 2010.

Officials say the blaze started in the kitchen duct of the Sweet Mango Cafe in the 3700 block of New Hampshire Avenue around 8:00 p.m. Firefighters arriving on scene found fire showing from the building. The blaze was quickly brought under control.

Fire officials say the restaurant suffered approximately $100,000 in damages.

No one was injured in the fire.

Damage from Sweet Mango's kitchen fire is estimated at $100,000



Fire Alarm Boxes Disappearing from Park View Streetscapes

November 23, 2010

Gamewell fire call boxes, like this one, were once installed on pedestals throughout the city

The Fire Alarm Box, and less so it’s Police Call Box counterpart, are among the most recognizable remnants of all of DC’s historic street architecture. Many of them have been turned into street art throughout the city.

I’ve often wondered why there are so few in Park View, thinking that perhaps it had to do with when the neighborhood was developed. However, I recently discovered that this is not true. In reading a copy of the Park View News from April 6, 1916, it was instantly clear that Park View once had just as extensive an alarm box system as any other part of the city. You can read that article below:

The article above identifies 10 locations for fire call boxes. Of those, only two still have the posts and harps for those boxes. They are located at the intersections of Warder & Kenyon and Gresham & Georgia. Sadly, the harp at Georgia & Lamont has only recently vanished. As shown in the Google image below, it was still there earlier this year.

The call box harp at Lamont and Georgia is a recent loss to the community

Upon walking the neighborhood, I’ve also discovered two harps that were not on the 1916 list. They are located at Warder & Otis and Princeton & Georgia. These harps, and the call boxes once installed in them, were produced by the Gamewell company and painted red. You can see a picture of Park View’s remaining 4 fire alarm box pedestals and harps after the jump. (more…)

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