A fire at an Anacostia Naval Annex dormitory yesterday morning caused about $1 million damage to the roof and upper floors of the three-story building, a Navy spokesman said.
About 100 firefighters from the D.C. Fire Department and the Naval District of Washington battled the 8:53 a.m. blaze--visible from most of Southwest Washington--for about 90 minutes to get it under control.
Six firefighters were slightly injured while fighting the fire at the dormitory. None was hospitalized. A Navy enlisted man, one of the 50 people who had to flee the building because of the fire, was treated at a hospital for smoke inhalation and released, a hospital spokesman said.
The District's fireboat pumped water from the Anacostia River to help battle the blaze.
Located just south of the Anacostia River between the Frederick Douglass and 11th Street bridges, the building is the headquarters for the Navy Honor Guard, which provides honor guards and drill teams for ceremonies throughout the area, including the White House and the Arlington National Cemetery.
D.C. Fire Chief Theodore R. Coleman said the fire may have been burning for some time before it was detected. Investigators said they have not determined the fire's origin.
"When you get to a fire and it's going through the roof, it's really hard to guess where it began," Coleman said.
Commodore John Disher, commandant of the Naval District of Washington, said the fire probably began in a storage area on the third floor of the H-shaped brick building. Disher estimated that 50 men were in the building when smoke detectors sounded. He said arrangements for temporary housing for the 75 men living in the dormitory were being made at nearby Bolling Air Force Base and at Fort Myer in Arlington.
Chief Petty Officer Bradford S. Miller, who lives in the building but was outside when the alarm went off, was one of several occupants who ran through the smoking building to wake sleeping people.
"If the alarm had not gone off we would have been in a lot worse boat then we are now," Miller said.