Sign up for our free newsletter

Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.

At about 4 a.m. last Friday, a fire broke out in the room of D.C. Village resident Shamika Kelly, who was awakened by the wailing of her 1-year-old. Kelly didn’t hear a fire alarm, so she ran into the hall and alerted the homeless shelter’s staff to the fire. “They looked at me like I was crazy,” Kelly says. As Kelly and her roommate attempted to stamp out the flames—there was no fire extinguisher on hand—a staff member manually pulled an alarm. Another resident went room to room alerting the other residents. Eventually, a fire truck from Engine Company 33 arrived, and Kelly and her family were treated for smoke inhalation. “My kids is traumatized by this. Every time they wake up, they look at the wall and ask me if I’m OK,” says Kelly. A mayoral aide disputes residents’ contentions that the shelter’s fire alarms didn’t sound. —Jason Cherkis