D.C. FEMS responds to fire at Residences on the Avenue apartments

Media Credit: Edward Herzig | Photographer

Residents were seen re-entering the building at about 10:45 a.m.

Updated: Feb. 25, 2022 at 12:33 p.m.

D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services personnel responded to a fire at the Residences on the Avenue apartments Friday.

Vito Maggiolo, a FEMS spokesperson, said officials dispatched about 60 personnel and a dozen vehicles in response to a report of a fire on the ninth floor of the building shortly before 10 a.m. He said upon entering the building, responders found smoke in the hallways of the ninth floor, where they located an active fire coming from a single unit facing I Street.

Three windows overlooking I Street were seen shattered on one of the upper floors of the building with smoke coming out as of about 10:15 a.m. FEMS vehicles blocked off I Street between 23rd and 22nd streets, where at least 20 people were gathered outside the building.

Fire engines also blocked entry to 23rd and 22nd streets between Pennsylvania Avenue and H Street.

Sydney Walsh | Assistant Photo Editor

Maggiolo said responders extinguished the fire about 15 minutes after they arrived at the scene and proceeded to clear any residual smoke. He said no injuries were reported to FEMS, and the ninth floor would remain closed while responders attempt to determine the cause of the fire.

He said the building’s sprinklers were activated, and residents evacuated the building in response to a fire alarm that was pulled manually.

“There was a sprinkler activation which was very useful in helping to contain the fire until we could get final extinguishment, but the fire is under control,” Maggiolo said.

Residents were seen re-entering the building at about 10:45 a.m.

“Our main concern right now is making sure the smoke is cleared, and there’s no other safety issues,” he said.

FEMS responders have cleared the scene, according to a GW Alert that officials issued at about 12:18 p.m.

“The streets around The Avenue have all reopened to traffic,” the alert reads.

The University issued a previous alert notifying GW community members about the fire at about 10:24 a.m.

“GW ALERT: DC Fire and EMS is responding to a fire at The Avenue apartments, 2221 Eye St. NW,” the first alert reads. “Nearby streets are blocked; please avoid the area.”

Natalie Puletti, a third-year law student and resident of the building, said she evacuated the Avenue at about 10 a.m. when fire alarms started sounding. She said she initially thought the alarm was a mistake after a false alarm sounded in the building in December.

“I had no idea it was even going off until I heard like ruckus and people walking down, but it was a very faint sound,” Puletti said. 

Devyani Sumria, who was temporarily staying in the building, said she also evacuated her unit on the side of the building facing 23rd Street and exited the building after the alarms went off at about 10 a.m. 

“It was pretty easy because we just climbed down the steps, and it was there was no rush,” Sumria said. “There was no panic. Everybody was pretty chill.”

This post was updated to include the following:
This post was updated to clarify that FEMS personnel reopened the streets surrounding the Avenue to traffic after University officials notified GW community members.

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