NORTHEAST

Fire Destroys Tire Store, Leaves Stock Smoldering

About 160 firefighters fought the blaze in Northeast Washington, which destroyed a cellphone tower as well as the long-standing tire shop.
About 160 firefighters fought the blaze in Northeast Washington, which destroyed a cellphone tower as well as the long-standing tire shop. (By Gerald Martineau -- The Washington Post)
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By William Wan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fire yesterday destroyed Jimmy's Tire Shop, a neighborhood institution in Northeast Washington, sending thick, black smoke billowing high above the city, where it could be seen for miles.

No one was seriously injured. One firefighter was hurt in a fall but was treated at a hospital and released.

The fire began shortly before 1:30 p.m. in the brick building at the intersection of 12th and K streets and Florida Avenue. The first firefighters to arrive, from Engine 10 a few blocks away, thought they had the fire under control, said Alan Etter, a fire department spokesman. But while they were still inside, an explosion worsened the blaze, he said.

Firefighters contained the blaze about 5:30 p.m. but planned to pour foam on the smoldering business and watch it through the night, Etter said. Streets within one block of the shop will remain closed today, he said.

"With all the tires, it's difficult to extinguish . . . but there shouldn't be any health risks," Etter said.

Located amid townhouses and apartments in the Trinidad neighborhood in Northeast, Jimmy's Tire Shop had been a Florida Avenue institution since the mid-1970s. The store's manager, Rick Colburn, did not return calls. Reached by phone, his wife declined to comment but noted that she and her husband had owned the business for years and were devastated by the fire.

A Verizon cellphone tower above the tire store was also destroyed.

About 160 firefighters fought the blaze, including foam units from the D.C. and Fairfax County fire departments.

Staff writer Jenna Johnson contributed to this report.


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