Because of incorrect information from George Washington University Hospital, several misspelled names and an inaccurate age appeared in an article yesterday about a fire at the Costa Rican Embassy. The correct names are Federico Vargas, Eugenio Vargas and Laura Peralta. Martha Vargas is 49 years old.
Two members of the family of the Costa Rican ambassador jumped from second floor windows to escape an early morning fire at the embassy yesterday that caused an estimated $450,000 in damage, according to D.C. fire officials.
An 18-year-old man was admitted to George Washington University Hospital, while six others, including the ambassador's wife, daughter and two sons, were treated and released. Ambassador Frederico Vargas was in Costa Rica but was scheduled to return to Washington sometime last night, colleagues said.
Authorities initially believed that the fire started in the embassy's Christmas tree, but they later termed the cause "suspicious," according to spokesman Ray Alfred.
Firefighters arrived to find the first floor and basement areas in flames, he said.
The blaze destroyed one room at the three-story brick residence at 2112 S St. NW and caused minor damage to three rooms, fire officials said.
Jaime Peralta, 18, whose brother is married to the ambassador's daughter, was listed in good condition yesterday suffering from smoke inhalation, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Six other persons who were at the embassy when the blaze broke out about 5:40 a.m. were treated at the hospital for smoke inhalation and cuts. They were the ambassador's wife, Martha, 56; his daughter, Lora Peralta, 22; sons Frederico, 21, and Eugene, 10; Frederico, 21, another his son-in-law, Roberto Peralta, 23, and Cecilia Segovia, 37, a cultural attache at the embassy.
Segovia, Lora Peralta and her brother Eugene Vargas broke out second floor windows and jumped to the ground.
The embassy, which is near Embassy Row, stood empty yesterday afternoon, guarded by police. A small pile of burned debris was near the driveway, and several broken front windows had been covered with plastic.