Saturday blaze damages stores on 19th and M streets

A fire damaged several businesses near 19th and M streets on Saturday afternoon, forcing evacuations and closing streets for several hours.

The blaze erupted around 12:30 p.m. at Penang restaurant on M Street, D.C. Fire Department spokesman Alan Etter said. The fire also damaged the nearby Chipotle, Starbucks and Porter Dining Saloon.

No one was injured in the incident and officers were able to control the fire within 30 minutes, Etter said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but Etter said authorities believe it was spread through a ventilation duct.

Witnesses said firefighters had to blow out upper-floor windows to fight the fire, including those above Porter’s and Starbucks, which are next door to Penang.

Chipotle will remain closed until further notice due to water damage, restaurant manager Flor Avellaneda said.

“We’ll allow maybe a day to dry,” Avellaneda said. “We’ll open depending on what the health department inspector says.”

Daniel’s Hair Salon, located adjacent to Penang on M Street, was evacuated along with other businesses on the block. Owner Daniel Chreky said some smoke from the fire came into his building through his open front door and the 30 to 40 people in his three-story salon had to be evacuated.

Bell Wine & Spirits, located a few doors from Daniel’s Hair Salon, had just started a wine tasting with about 10 people when the store was told to evacuate by a police officer.

“I saw the fire trucks and then walked outside and saw the smoke,” manager Khalid Mohamed said. After the fire was out, the store remained open.

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