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By now people know about the Mount Pleasant fire. The blaze took hold just before midnight. Sirens could be heard as far away as 16th and U Streets NW. Hundreds may have lost their homes.

This morning, Mount Pleasant Street is still shut down. Yellow tape cut off intersections and roped off businesses. Fire hoses take up Irving Street. Tired fire fighters gather around a truck serving coffee, rested at tables, and on apartment stoops.

Hundreds of people crowded near the 7-Eleven to watch as fire fighters continue to spray water on the four-story apartment building that is now gutted, that is mainly now just a scarred facade. People are quiet and respectful, snapping pictures with digital cameras, talking to neighbors, generally staying out of the way. It is eerie to see this busy street turn so silent. It’s now a possible crime scene.

According to the Post, Fire Department Spokesperson Alan Etter estimated that 200 firefighters and 80 pieces of equipment were used to combat the five-alarm fire: “The city had not had a five-alarm fire since a warehouse burned in the late 1970s, Etter said.”

Just behind the apartment, the fire had spread to Meridian Hill Baptist Church. Its stained-glass window are broken. Its roof is nearly collapsing. Inside, burnt debris is everywhere—down the pews and up at the pulpit. It looks like a total loss.

More pictures of the scene this morning, after the jump.