The Wash
The fire raged for a half hour before firefighters were able to quell it. Photo Credit: Building Resident

Fire on Church Street NW Leaves Nine Displaced, One Firefighter Injured

Propane tank explosions boom through the neighborhood.

An apartment building suffered significant damage as a fire ripped through the top floor and roof and blew up a propane tank on Saturday morning.

The fire, at a small apartment building on 1525 Church Street NW, left nine residents displaced. According to the District Fire Department, there was significant damage to the top floor of the apartment building and the roof, as well as substantial water damage to the lower floors.

The building on Church Street, scorched by the fire.
Matt Thibault/The Wash

District Fire dispatched 75 firefighters and 20 units at around 10:30, and reported that the fire was under control within a half hour.

No residents were harmed during the fire, but District Fire confirmed that one firefighter was injured and was transported to a hospital with minor injuries. The circumstances of the injuries are unknown at this time.

One resident described hearing smoke alarms blaring, but chalked it up to someone overcooking something. He heard a loud boom, and then encountered “flames as tall as I was” and proceeded to start banging on the doors of different apartments. The resident said he wasn’t sure who called 911.

He said that he had “no idea” what the first boom was.

Cracked glass and a burnt propane tank are remnants of the fire from Saturday morning.
Matt Thibault/The Wash

The resident felt fortunate, as he told The Wash that there was very little damage to his own apartment, but would likely still have to move due to damage to the building.

After heading outside at the direction of emergency services, he said he heard a second boom. He told The Wash that he was told it was a propane tank that blew up. District Fire confirmed this. 

As the fire spread to the roof, it reached a propane cooking grill, causing it to explode. This was secondary to the original fire. 

District Fire says that the original cause of the fire is still “undetermined.” The Red Cross and other agencies assisted residents after the fire.

Matt Thibault

Masters student at American University. Journalist and storyteller. Notorious Wi-Fi Ganondorf.

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