Two firefighters were injured last night in a blaze in Northwest Washington that investigators believe was caused by drug paraphernalia that had been discarded in the house.
One firefighter broke a leg and another suffered smoke inhalation. Both were taken to Washington Hospital Center, where they were in stable condition last night, fire officials said. Their names were not released.
The fire, which began in a building at 1639 Marion St. NW about 10 p.m., was brought under control in about 15 minutes, fire officials said. The firefighters were injured when the second floor of the two-story brick house collapsed, sending them crashing to the first floor.
No one else was injured in the fire, which was one of four that broke out out between 9:40 and 11:20 last night.
Neighbors two blocks from the house said they could see smoke rising from the building.
"I was walking out the door when I smelled the smoke," said Melvin Brown, who lives on Sixth Street NW, a block east of Marion Street. "Then I saw all the flames. It was scary."
Brown and other residents said they have repeatedly complained to police about the boarded-up house, which they said is frequented by drug dealers. "People come in and out of there all night," Brown said. "We've been trying to get the police to do something about it for six months."
Fire officials said that investigators found drug paraphernalia in the house, and that the drug equipment apparently had started the fire, which consumed about two-thirds of the building.
About 50 fire department personnel -- including Fire Chief Ray Alfred -- responded to the blaze. "When I heard about the firefighters getting hurt, I wanted to come out and see what happened," Alfred said.