12 October 2006

Fire in Brentwood Displaces 41 - Water Pressure Too Low to Battle the Blaze Properly

Photo from DCFD.com
From WTOP:
Fire quickly spread through eight townhouses in Brentwood Sunday, displacing 41 people, most of them children.

"That fire went from a single room to the entire row in less than five minutes," says D.C. Fire Battalion Chief Kevin Sloan. "The entire roof area became involved in less than five minutes."

The 4 p.m. fire [at 2255 15th Street, NE], started in a third floor bedroom of a middle unit. While it did not go below the roof line of the building, all eight units of the renovated apartment building sustained some water damage.

Firefighters had some difficulty fighting the fire because the building had a tarred flat roof that was covered by a pitched roof. The tar on the roof spread the fire quickly. There also was concern that the roof would collapse. About 100 firefighters battled the blaze.

"Because of low water pressure in some areas, we weren't able to put all of our lines in service," says Deputy Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbee.

Sloan says one man was injured when he jumped from third floor of the unit where the fire started. His injuries are not life-threatening.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

Why, oh why, was the water pressure so low that the fire department couldn't do their job?

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