- The Washington Times - Friday, June 5, 2009

A three-alarm fire Thursday morning in Northeast destroyed two homes and heavily damaged another.

The fire started just before 10 a.m. at a home in the 2200 block of Douglas Street and spread to two other homes, said D.C. fire department spokesman Alan Etter.

Roughly 180 firefighters and personnel using 70 pieces of equipment controlled the blaze in about 75 minutes.

Mr. Etter said there were no injuries but the fire destroyed two of the homes and left a residence at 2212 Douglas St. with “significant damage.”

“The fire department arrived to a home that was fully engulfed and had already spread to at least one of the homes,” he said. “This fire had been going on for a very long time before anybody even noticed it.”

Officials Thursday afternoon had not yet been able to determine the cause of the fire, which was extinguished by about 11:15 a.m.

Mr. Etter said the home where the blaze started was too unsound for an investigator to enter, but officials hoped to be able to determine a cause later.

He also said officials did not immediately know how many people were displaced by the blaze.

“We don’t know exactly who lives where yet,” he said.

Members of the Myers family, who lived in one of the homes, were at a kindergarten ceremony at a nearby elementary school when neighbors told them their home was on fire, according to WJLA-TV (Channel 7).

“All I can do is laugh to keep from crying,” Bernard Myers told the station. “I mean, I had … 37 years of my life in that house.”

Mr. Etter said multiple-alarm fires in the District are not common. He said the city’s last multiple-alarm fire occurred April 26, and the last three-alarm fires in the city likely were the ones that damaged Eastern Market and the Georgetown library branch in 2007.

A five-alarm fire in 2008 destroyed a Mount Pleasant apartment building and left about 200 people homeless.

“While multiple-alarm fires don’t happen very frequently, we must be prepared to respond with whatever resources are necessary to deal with any emergency,” Mr. Etter said.

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