We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
A Jan. 14 fire on the top floor of an eight-story Shaw apartment building displaced 11 people and caused $25,000 worth of damage, according to an estimate given by fire-department spokesperson Alan Etter. But that estimate includes only damage caused by the actual fire, not damage caused by the effort to put it out. Water used to extinguish the eighth-floor fire messed up apartments on the levels below, and units from the fourth floor down experienced still more severe damage thanks to a hole in a fire hose in the stairwell between the fourth and fifth floors. Etter says that firefighters try to connect hoses near the fire inside the building but can’t do so in old buildings that lack standpipes. “Going up the stairs increases the risk” of bursting the hose, Etter says. Building managers refused to comment on the extent of the damage to the building. “It was gushing. I thought it might be powerful enough to knock me over,” says sixth-floor resident Robin Schilling, whose apartment suffered water spots on her walls and ceiling but dodged the flooding. Says a fourth-floor resident: “When I opened the door, it was Niagara Falls.”—Arthur Delaney