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Electrical failure and Christmas tree caused mansion fire that took 6 lives

(Glenn A. Miller / AP)

The tree, which had been cut two months earlier, was still up when an inferno gutted the Maryland home.

    Latest local news

    ‘Tebow’ bill for home school athletes clears Va. House

    The bill would allow certain home schoolers to play public school sports.

    Full text: Judge’s protest resignation letter

    The federal judge on a commission appointed by Obama to improve forensic science in the criminal justice system has resigned.

    February’s best shows: 50 Cent, Parquet Courts and more

    February’s best shows: 50 Cent, Parquet Courts and more

    The run-up to festival season gives concertgoers one glorious month of choice. Get your tickets now.

    Va. advances bill to free Dominion from some oversight

    The bill would let the utility giant skip routine public audits that can lead to refunds for consumers.

    After a wet December, Northern California likely to see driest January on record

    After a wet December, Northern California likely to see driest January on record

    California’s wet December provided some relief the drought in parts of northern California, but the rainy windfall did not last into January.

    The hardest working bike in Capital Bikeshare---and more fun facts

    The hardest working bike in Capital Bikeshare---and more fun facts

    Can you guess the number of trips people have taken on Capital Bikeshare last year?

    Coming soon for Bikeshare users: Possible rate hike and new stations

    Coming soon for Bikeshare users: Possible rate hike and new stations

    For the first time in nearly five years, Capital Bikeshare is proposing fare hikes.

    For one night, trying to make each homeless person count

    Volunteers, including high-level Obama officials, canvassed every block of the city.

    Cameron Carpenter: Not your grandmother’s organist

    Cameron Carpenter: Not your grandmother’s organist

    Brash, controversy-courting keyboardist brings his one-man show to the Kennedy Center.

    Alexandria to eliminate ‘add value’ option aboard buses

    Alexandria to eliminate ‘add value’ option aboard buses

    Bus riders will still be able to add value to their SmarTrip at Metro stations and other locations in Alexandria.

    Boy, 6, critically injured after snowboarding into passing car

    Police said boy was snowboarding in his driveway in McLean when his snowboard slid into passing car.

    Iciness possible for afternoon commute, especially north and west of Beltway

    Iciness possible for afternoon commute, especially north and west of Beltway

    The combination of the precipitation rush hour timing and cold ground could make for hazardous conditions in our colder areas.

    Maryland’s acting transit chief says he’ll keep an ‘open mind’ on Purple Line’s future

    Pete Rahn tells state senators he hopes to make recommendation to governor in next 90 days.

    Captain Cookie & the Milk Man opens in Foggy Bottom

    Captain Cookie & the Milk Man opens in Foggy Bottom

    The 3-year-old food truck now has a storefront near George Washington University.

    Time to walk the walk: Weather Service must hasten effort to communicate forecast uncertainty

    The National Weather Service has been frustratingly slow in taking on the communication of forecast uncertainty as a standard practice.

    Temperature inversion turns Grand Canyon into a beautiful sea of fog

    Temperature inversion turns Grand Canyon into a beautiful sea of fog

    For the second time this winter, the relatively rare and beautiful phenomenon has graced the Grand Canyon.

    Maryland’s O’Malley headed back to New Hampshire

    Maryland’s O’Malley headed back to New Hampshire

    The former governor plans to appear at a breakfast in the first primary state on St. Patrick’s Day.

    Woman hits unmarked police car, injuring three officers

    Anne Arundel police were responding to a call about a knife-wielding man in Pasadena when their vehicle was hit.

    Edward Lee to open Succotash at National Harbor

    Edward Lee to open Succotash at National Harbor

    The Asian-accented Southern restaurant will be the chef’s first project outside his Louisville base.

    Video

    High-speed pursuit through Montgomery County

    High-speed pursuit through Montgomery County

    Abraham Kamara, who went by the stage name “Honest Abe” in his fledgling rap career, led police on a high-speed chase though residential neighborhoods in the Silver Spring and Takoma Park areas.

    Police say three pharmacy robberies linked

    Three men wearing hooded sweat shirts and masks have robbed stores in Capitol Hill, Anacostia, Fort Davis

    Five of six Metro lines delayed, quickly resolved problems

    The only line with no reported problems (at the moment) is the bRed Line.

    The ‘Ghostbusters’ reboot got its cast by watching ‘Saturday Night Live’

    The ‘Ghostbusters’ reboot got its cast by watching ‘Saturday Night Live’

    The actresses have one thing in common: They’ve appeared on “Saturday Night Live” in the past year. Here’s a guide to them and why they may, or may not, make for good busters of ghosts.

    It pays to be close to Mayor Bowser

    It pays to be close to Mayor Bowser

    Top mayoral aides continue to pull down big salaries in D.C.

    Our Brussels sprouts crawl leads you to some of D.C.’s finest

    Our Brussels sprouts crawl leads you to some of D.C.’s finest

    D.C. Head out on our Brussels sprout crawl — including stops at Sushiko, Right Proper Brewing Company, and Boundary Stone — to try some of our favorites.

    ‘Hot to Cold’ at the National Building Museum shows how climate inspires architecture firm BIG

    ‘Hot to Cold’ at the National Building Museum shows how climate inspires architecture firm BIG

    A power plant you can ski down, an apartment building you can bike through and an exhibit space that folds up into a band shell — these are all inventions of the Bjarke Ingels Group (aka BIG).

    Smithsonian’s ‘Hear My Voice’ reveals sounds thought lost to time — like the voice of Alexander Graham Bell

    Smithsonian’s ‘Hear My Voice’ reveals sounds thought lost to time — like the voice of Alexander Graham Bell

    The inventor’s voice was one of many discoveries made by a team of curators and particle physicists when they played an 1885 cardboard and wax disc in 2012.

    Which D.C. Brussels sprouts are right for you?

    Which D.C. Brussels sprouts are right for you?

    Don’t have time to try our entire Tour de Brussels sprouts? Tell us your favorite kind of food, and we’ll send you straight to the D.C. restaurant with the perfect dish for you.

    ‘Awkward Sex … and the City’s’ sextet of storytellers share tips for publicly airing your dirty laundry

    ‘Awkward Sex … and the City’s’ sextet of storytellers share tips for publicly airing your dirty laundry

    Talking about your sex life can be hard. Talking about it in front of an audience is harder.

    Road reopens in Dupont Circle after water main break in area

    Water main break at R Street NW caused traffic detours

     

    Fairfax SWAT team raids high stakes Great Falls poker game, seizes cash, terrifies players

    Police continue to aggressively enforce anti-gambling laws, though charges against the players are set to be dismissed.

    It pays to be close to Mayor Bowser

    Top mayoral aides continue to pull down big salaries in D.C.

    Alexandria to eliminate ‘add value’ option aboard buses

    Bus riders will still be able to add value to their SmarTrip at Metro stations and other locations in Alexandria.

    Maryland’s acting transit chief says he’ll keep an ‘open mind’ on Purple Line’s future

    Pete Rahn tells state senators he hopes to make recommendation to governor in next 90 days.

    Five of six Metro lines delayed, quickly resolved problems

    The only line with no reported problems (at the moment) is the bRed Line.

    Road reopens in Dupont Circle after water main break in area

    Water main break at R Street NW caused traffic detours

    Weekend Metro rider has hard time spotting progress

    Gains from transit rebuilding program are not easy to spot when trains are few and far between.

    Super Bowl rules: guacamole yes, drones no

    The FAA offers this handy reminder: Drones and football don’t mix, especially at the Super Bowl.

    Drivers ask about getting started with express lanes

    Questions arise about E-ZPass Flex rules and the toll signs.

    Montgomery Bikeshare program exceeds expectations

    The bike-sharing program attracted about 35,000 trips in its first year.

    Trifecta of problems on Metro’s rail lines

    Broken rail causes trains to share track on Green Line. Earlier, a disabled train at East Falls Church caused delays.

    Traffic-choked roads don’t yield sufficient gas tax revenue

    Report says 40 percent of roadways don’t generate enough money to cover maintenance costs.

    Multi-vehicle crash causes delays on Interstate 270 south

    Drivers advised to avoid area of I-270 south near Montrose Road. No fatalities but delays.

    Travel woes continue after snowstorm

    Dozens of flights from D.C. area airports -- many bound for airports in the New York area and farther up the coast -- are delayed or canceled on Wednesday.

    Sen. Sanders wants to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure

    Vermont senator’s bill would increase spending on infrastructure by about $148 billion a year.

    Local Columns

    John Kelly

    John Kelly

    These Maryland couples haven’t missed a Super Bowl together in nearly 50 years.

    Robert McCartney

    Robert McCartney

    Brace yourself: Despite convictions for corruption, the ex-governor and his wife could get off.

    Petula Dvorak

    Petula Dvorak

    Making women stay in on fraternities’ bid night is not the answer to the school’s rape problem.

    Petula Dvorak

    Petula Dvorak

    The Disneyland measles outbreak is the result of discredited research linking vaccines to autism.

    Photo Galleries

    Learning the fine art of bottling whiskey

    At Purcellville distillery, spirit lovers process Roundstone Rye from cask to bottle.

    Sinkhole swallows car in Bladensburg area

    A 12-inch water-main break caused a residential street to give way and swallow a car in the Bladensburg area.

    A prize patrol’s delivery: College acceptance

    Forget fat envelopes in the mail. For some University of Maryland applicants, getting in meant getting a knock on the front door.

    Annapolis mansion destroyed by fire

    Owners Don and Sandra Pyle and four of their grandchildren died in the blaze.

    Leesburg celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.

    Nearly 1,000 people parade through the town’s historic streets to honor the slain civil rights leader.

    Maryland’s inauguration day

    New Gov. Larry Hogan and his lieutenant, Boyd Rutherford, are sworn in after an interfaith prayer service.

    Another bout of snow

    The Washington area endured another round of slick roads and rocky commutes.

    Virginia doctor keeps on trucking

    Rob Marsh administers care from a clinic at a truck stop in Raphine. Truckers passing through as well as locals are his patient base.

    Our Washington

    From waterfronts to monuments, Post photographers share their favorite D.C. spots.

    More photos