Police identify child who died in D.C. fire

February 20, 2013

A 4-year-old girl who died Tuesday after a weekend fire destroyed a house in the Hillcrest area of Southeast Washington has been identified as Samauri Jenkins, according to D.C. police. Four others, including a toddler, were injured in the blaze.

Police said the investigation into how the fire started continues, with help from the department’s homicide arson squad, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the fire department. The involvement of these agencies is routine in such investigations.

The cause of Samauri’s death has not yet been determined, pending an autopsy, according to police. She was found unconscious and not breathing inside the house in the 2600 block of 33rd St. SE, after firefighters had extinguished the blaze, which broke out shortly after 3 a.m. on Sunday. Relatives had told firefighters that a child was missing. Police said the child died at an area hospital on Tuesday.

The house, within a few hundred yards of the residence of D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray, (D) appears to be uninhabitable after the fire, according to a neighbor. The child was the District’s third fire fatality of this year.

Police described a chaotic scene where the fire occurred, reporting that an adult male who had escaped the fire made threats against a woman who also lived in the house. Police said in a statement that the 46-year-old man was arrested and charged with felony threats and simple assault, but no documentation of formal charges appears in records at D.C. Superior Court.

It is possible that prosecutors declined to move forward with the case. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office did not immediately respond to questions on Wednesday. Police would not say the circumstances that led to the arrest had anything to do with the fire.

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