Two of the four homeless persons killed in a fire at a vacant row house on 13th Street NW in Washington in November still have not been positively identified, according to the medical examiner's office and D.C. police. Both bodies remain at the morgue.
One of the bodies is that of a man in his 30s or 40s, while the other victim may have been a juvenile, police said. However, according to a homicide detective, "As time passes, it is less likely that he is a juvenile because the family becomes concerned at a youth's absence and notifies us. And we don't have many juvenile grate people."
All four victims are believed to have been street people with no fixed addresses. Such people are sometimes referred to as "grate people" because some keep warm on heating grates near downtown government offices.
The two-alarm fire broke out about 9:30 p.m. Nov. 2. The four apparently had taken shelter in the vacant, boarded-up house at 1637 13th St. NW and started a fire in the basement to stay warm, fire officials said.
Witnessess said that when the fire went out of control, the four could be heard screaming for help from upper floors.
One man, Paul Moore, 41, was identified by his fingerprints; Sylvester Ellis, 36, was identified by his family, according to the medical examiner.
Although the other two have not been identified, officials believe they know the name of the younger one, but police have not been able to locate his family, a homicide detective said. He declined to release the name until the family has been notified.