A three-alarm fire gutted a large Northeast Washington warehouse last night, causing damage D.C. fire officials estimated to be "in the millions of dollars."
No injuries were reported in the blaze, which broke out about 10 p.m. in a rear loading dock area of the Kane Storage and Transfer Co. warehouse at Eighth and Franklin streets NE. Scores of firefighters led by Fire Chief Jefferson Lewis battled the blaze for more than two hours before bringing it under control shortly after midnight.
Police and fire investigators on the scene early today said they had not determined a cause of the blaze, but classified it as "suspicious." Firefighters were expected to remain on the site throughout this morning hosing down smoldering debris.
Battalion Fire Chief Richard A. Hubscher said the two-story, 75-by-150-foot building was gutted and 90 percent of its contents were destroyed.
Hubscher said the bulk of the stored material consisted of office furnishings consigned by the Department of Energy, kitchen appliances owned by Douglas Distributing Co. of 3521 V St. NE, and paper stock for the U.S. House of Representatives.In addition, he said, the fire destroyed some unidentified materials stored by the U.S. Treasury Department and furniture being held by the D.C. Department of Human Resources for evicted families.
Hubscher said firefighters initially were hampered in their efforts to control the blaze by the proximity of a railroad tank car loaded with liquid propane gas on a C&O rail siding behind the warehouse. "The fire was through the roof when the first units got there," Hubscher said, "but they had to put their hoses on that tank car first," to prevent an explosion. "If that thing had gone up, it could have leveled a city block," he said. The tank car later was pulled from the area, Hubscher said.