On Tuesday morning, a multi-alarm fire on the second floor of a nine-story Foggy Bottom seniors’ residence left six people hospitalized and dozens more forced to leave their apartments.
Fire crews were dispatched to St. Mary’s Court at 24th and H Streets at 11:35 a.m., according to DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services spokesperson Vito Maggiolo.
The entire building was evacuated, and crews could not immediately ascertain the cause of the fire, which originated in a rear apartment. An investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing, and several investigators were on hand in the lobby of the building conducting their investigation.
Last month, Jeffrey Winters moved to the building after residing in the District’s Dupont Circle neighborhood. While he was initially skeptical of the alarm that blared through his apartment, he quickly heeded the advice of fire crews and exited the building.
“I thought it was just a drill,” Winters, 64, said. “But, I looked out in the hall and it was filled with smoke.”
Glenden Ford was among the firefighters who carried senior citizens from the smoky building’s upper floors. He recounted a chaotic atmosphere as he arrived to help evacuate the building.
“They were definitely scared,” Ford said of the residents he assisted. “We had a lot of people in the stairwells, and it got real smoky.”
Six fire trucks were stationed outside the building for hours after the blaze erupted, along with two ambulances and several additional fire vehicles. Those who firefighters rescued from the building were triaged in the lobby of the adjacent Potomac Plaza Terraces, a 10-floor cooperative across the street.
Update 2 Alarm fire on 24th St NW. 6 residents transported to hospitals. Fire under control. Approximately 20 units & 100 personnel responded. A safety evaluation of building will be conducted to determine when & which residents can return. Investigators on scene. pic.twitter.com/VRvGVr0KHn
— DC Fire and EMS (@dcfireems) November 15, 2022
DC Fire did not disclose to which hospital victims were taken, nor did they provide the names or ages of those transported or triaged. At this point, it is unknown when or if the building’s other residents will be able to return to their homes.
St. Mary’s Court opened in 1979 and houses senior citizens with disabilities. According to DC Fire, 100 fire personnel from 20 units responded to the scene.