An underground electrical fire cut off lights and spread smoke through Woodward/Lothrop's main store in downtown Washington early yesterday afternoon, resulting in minor damage to the store's contents, officials said.
About 1,000 customers and 350 employes were evacuated from the main store at 11th and F streets NW, which was then closed for the remainder of the afternoon, officials said. There were no injuries. About 90 minutes later, Woodies North Store on G Street was also closed to facilitate electrical repairs.
A store offical said Woodies plans to open at 10 a.m. today. Potomac Electric Power Company officials said utility workers expected to work through the night to repair damage to electric lines.
D.C. fire officials said yesterday that the fire was apparently caused by a short circuit in underground electrical lines, located on the west side of the main store on 11th Street between F and G streets. Smoke entered the main store through ducts that lead from the street to the building, store officials said.
The Metro entrance at 11th and G streets NW, which connects with entrances to the department store -- was also closed temporarily yesterday afternoon as a result of the fire.