Archive for the ‘Fires’ category

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…)

Luray Place Fire Sends Resident to Hospital

November 19, 2010

WUSA9 reports that an elderly Park View resident was critically injured this morning (11/19/10) when fire broke out in their home located on the 400 block of Luray Place.

The female victim was taken to the hospital with critical burn injuries. DC Fire and EMS responded to a report of a house fire around 8:50 Friday morning.

A few more details and some footage discussing the fire are available at the WUSA9 Web site.


Then and Now: Columbia Road @ Sherman Avenue

August 20, 2010

Fire wreck, 1/5/21Columbia Road 2010
(Columbia Road at Sherman Avenue in 1921 and today)

The historic image above dates to January 5, 1921, and shows the aftermath of a motor collision at Columbia Road and Sherman Avenue in which Battalion Fire Chief Timothy J. Donohue was injured, receiving a cracked jaw, several broken ribs and lacerations on his face, head and body. Donohue was 63 years of age at the time. He rallied and recovered from his injuries.

Donohue officially became Battalion Chief in 1916 after 32 years of service. By November 1, 1921, he had retired from fire duty.

Additional images below:
(Historic images from Library of Congress)


Engine Company No. 4 Provides Hands-On Lessons in Fire Safety to Park View Children

May 17, 2010

(by guest contributor, Jamaal Abdul-Alim; photos by Hadiyah Abdul-Alim)

The firefighters of Engine Company No. 4 delivered a few lessons in fire safety this weekend to roughly two dozen children at the Park View Recreational Center.

Firefighter Tony Kelleher helped children use the fire hose (Photo by Hadiyah Abdul-Alim)

Some of those lessons were hands-on. The children got a chance to peer inside a fire truck, spray a water hose on the sidewalk and touch the protective gear of a firefighter after he demonstrated how to put it on.

The up close encounters were meant to get the children familiar with firefighters and what they do so that in the event of an actual fire the children won’t run and hide from the firefighters, who might look and sound scary in their oxygen masks and bulky protective gear but are there to rescue anyone who may be trapped in a burning building.

To drive home this point, DCFD wagon driver Tony Kellher had firefighter Ian O’Byrne put on his firefighter gear and asked the children to say his name — Firefighter Ian — throughout the process so that the children remember that underneath the mask and all the gear it’s still Firefighter Ian.

“Who is this?” Kellerher repeatedly asked the youths as they sat in the shade on Princeton Place.

Firefighter Ian O'Byrne in his firefighter gear (Photo by Hadiyah Abdul-Alim)

“Firefighter Ian,” the children would all yell in response.

Inside the small recreation center building on Princeton Place, DCFD Public Educator Patricia Everett instructed the children on what to do in an actual fire.

For instance, she said, children should crawl on the floor beneath the thickness of the smoke in order to get out of a burning structure because that’s where the breathable air will be. (more…)

Fire Safety and Engine Company Display This Saturday

May 14, 2010

April 26th fire on Quincy Street

This Saturday, May 15, 2010, the D.C. Fire Department will hold two separate events related to fire safety.

The first event is called SAVU (Smoke Alarm Verification and Utilization) and will begin at 11 a.m. in the 600 block of Quincy. Residents may recall that this is the same block where a fire occurred on April 26th damaging several homes and displacing one family.

Then at noon at the Park View Recreation Center, the Fire Department has planned an Engine Company display and fire safety presentation for neighborhood children. In addition to getting an opportunity to get a better acquainted with an Engine Company, participants will also have the ability to be introduced to fire safety topics focusing on what to do and what not to do in a fire, such as not hiding from a fire, always letting an adult know there is a fire, and practicing escape plans.

The Engine Company display and fire safety presentation will be held in conjunction with the Fun Saturdays that already take place at the rec center from 11 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

The information shared by the fireman will be informative for both young and old. For those unfamiliar with the fire that occurred on the 600 block of Quincy Street, one of the reasons it spread so quickly was because it started out as an electrical fire. It escalated when a young girl tried in vain to douse it with two glasses of water.


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