Investigators Determine Tire Shop Fire Was Accidental

By Joshua Zumbrun
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 28, 2008; 3:55 PM

Fire department investigators have determined a fire that burned down a tire shop in Northeast Washington last week was started accidentally.

A contractor was working on a damaged wall on the second floor of Jimmy's Tire Shop at 12th and K Streets NE, when the fire began last Monday afternoon. The wall had collapsed during the recent removal of an underground storage tank. The contractor was working on the wall when sparks from a masonry saw fell into the void between two walls and started a fire that quickly spread through the building, said fire department spokesman Alan Etter.

Around 160 firefighters, including foam units, were needed to extinguish the flames. The fire blazed from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. Monday, but the burning tires left days of cleanup work for the fire department. Cleanup work continued until Thursday, and Florida Avenue NE was partially or completely closed for much of the week.

The fire department worked with the D.C. Department of the Environment to assess pollution from the fire. Air pollution in the area quickly dissipated, and water polluted by the fire was able to be treated before entering the city's drainage system, Etter said.

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