WASHINGTON - Firefighters battled a large warehouse fire for the majority of the afternoon and night after it broke out Wednesday in Northwest D.C.
The heavy smoke and fire engulfed the two-story structure at the District Properties Luxury Home Builders business located in the 6500 block of Chillum Place.
Fire officials said they removed firefighters from the interior of the warehouse and were fighting the fire from the outside due to concerns of a possible structural collapse. The roof would later collapse Wednesday night.
“It's a warehouse that has two sides to it – the front side and the backside," said D.C. Fire and EMS Chief Gregory Dean. "There is a lot of heavy smoke and fire in there. We see some cracking in the walls and to be safe for the firefighters, we have made this a defensive fire. Now, we are trying to determine what is the right angle to be able to get water in there, to be able to put this fire out. At the same time, we are concerned about the extension, so we are checking fire walls trying to make sure the fire is not going to extend much further.”
Nearby businesses were evacuated. One firefighter has been transported to the hospital with minor injuries.
2nd Alarm update Chillum Place NW. Fire is deep seated inside the warehouse. We continue defensive operations from the outside. Collapse zone established. Metro and CSX tracks in rear. Still no injuries reported. pic.twitter.com/vrqGa8nJPg— DC Fire and EMS (@dcfireems) May 9, 2018
Thick smoke continues to pour out of warehouse building called District Properties Luxury Home Builders in NW as it’s not safe for crews to go in bc floors could collapse. Nearby biz evacuated & 1 FF transported with non-life threatening injuries @fox5dc pic.twitter.com/EauTwCkyUG— Anjali Hemphill (@AnjaliHemphill) May 9, 2018
D.C. Fire and EMS said it requested for Metro and CSX to shut down service at the tracks nearby the warehouse. Metro suspended Red Line train service between the Rhode Island Ave and Silver Spring stations due to the fire and said the service impact could continue into Thursday morning. Shuttle buses were being provided for Metro passengers between those stations.
“A number of businesses have been impacted by a pretty immense fire response," said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. "We are grateful to our firefighters for arriving immediately and getting this fire under control, and the proximity to the train tracks and their ability to put this fire down so we can get the Metro back open on this span is also very important. We appreciate everybody being patient. The safety of our firefighters, of course, is paramount getting this fire put down and forbidding any more loss to property.”