News and Analysis


Pete Piringer

Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011 1:10 p.m.

Gas leak prompts city response

A Washington Gas employee surveys the scene around the open plate, reportedly the source of a gas leak between 18th and 19th streets. Michelle Rattinger | Senior Photo Editor

A gas leak shut down E Street between 18th and 19th streets Wednesday.

Fire officials used monitors to detect gas coming from a junction box in the sidewalk at the corner of 19th and E streets, one firefighter on the scene said. The junction box contains the underground natural gas pipe,which was identified as the source of the leak, D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Pete Piringer said.

The D.C. Fire Department arrived on the scene at 10:15 a.m., Piringer said, adding that there were no reported injuries and no evacuations.

A Metropolitan Police officer said he did not know when the leak would be fixed, and “these things often take a long time.” He said the streets would be reopened as soon as Washington Gas resolved the issue.

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Five fire engines responded to a fire at the 1221 West End Residences building Tuesday. Marie McGrory | Hatchet Staff Photographer

A fire broke out on the roof of a West End apartment building Tuesday afternoon, burning some wooden decking, a D.C. Fire and EMS official said.

Firefighters received a call for the “relatively small fire” on the roof of the 1221 West End Residences building, near 24 and M streets, at about 4:45 p.m., Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Byrne said. At about 5:35 p.m., he said firefighters contained the flames. There were no injuries.

The fire originated around an air conditioning unit, Pete Piringer, the department’s spokesman, said. Investigators have yet to determine whether or not the unit sparked the fire.

Five fire engines, three trucks and three chiefs responded to the scene, Byrne said, adding that they plan to stay on site for another hour.

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Monday, July 25, 2011 6:39 p.m.

Unattended oven sparks fire in JBKO kitchen

Alarms sounded Monday at JBKO hall, after a fire broke out in an oven where food was left unattended. Priya Anand | Hatchet Staff Photographer

An oven fire burst out in the kitchen of a sixth floor JBKO residence hall room Monday evening, triggering alarms that evacuated the building.

The fire department received a call at about 5:30 p.m., when food was left cooking in the oven unattended, D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Pete Piringer said.

The flames were confined to the kitchen area and nobody was injured – firefighters found the room unoccupied.

Piringer said smoke escaped into the rest of the apartment but the damage was not wide-spread.

“As soon as they get the alarm reset we should be good to go,” Piringer said, adding that units would likely leave the scene within 30 minutes.

A kitchen fire also broke out at 1959 E St. Thursday, burning one resident’s hand as he tried to extinguish a grease fire from a pot himself.

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A fire broke out in the kitchen of a third floor room at 1959 E St. Thursday evening, forcing firefighters to evacuate occupants from the building.

The fire department received a call at about 6:15 p.m., D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Pete Piringer said. When units arrived at the scene, they found a pot on the stove in the room, but the fire was “essentially out.”

EMS officials evaluated one male resident for possible hand burns, Piringer said, apparently incurred while he attempted to extinguish the grease or oil fire from the pot with a fire extinguisher. While he was trying to put out the fire, hot liquid splashed on him, Piringer said. He was evaluated and treated at the site and declined to go to the hospital.

“Damage was minimal and confined to the kitchen area,” Piringer said.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011 3:36 p.m.

Fire breaks out at ZBT townhouse

The 'significant' fire in the ZBT house Tuesday caused no injuries. Michelle Rattinger | Senior Photo Editor

Updated 4:40 p.m.

A fire broke out in the  Zeta Beta Tau townhouse Tuesday afternoon, with firefighters on scene using the roof to gain access to the flames.

An officer on scene, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said the fire was extinguished by 3:40 p.m.

Pete Piringer, spokesman for the D.C. fire and emergency medical services department, said the “significant fire” at 605 21st Street erupted within the upper walls of the townhouse, on the second and third floors and in the attic.

Firefighters arrived on scene and put ladders up to access the smoke-filled townhouse after receiving an initial call at about 3:05 p.m. Piringer said about 50 firefighters and 12 trucks responded.

Firefighters inside the townhouse could not immediately detect where the fire was located, Piringer said, but noted heavy smoke. He said a preliminary investigation led firefighters to believe there was “burning for a while, undetected in the walls.”

It took 15 to 20 minutes for officers “to get a handle” because the fire “wasn’t outwardly visible,” Piringer said.

No students were residing in the townhouse at the time, but one occupant who moving in smelled smoke and called the department, Piringer said. Damage to the townhouse is “pretty significant.” Firefighters opened up walls, ceilings and the roof to put out the flames.

The fire shut down 21 Street between G and F streets. Piringer said investigators will examine burn patterns and use the process of elimination to identify potential fire causes.

Neighboring townhouses did not catch flames but did hold some smoke, he said. The fraternity tweeted that all of the brothers were safe.

Priya Anand contributed to this report.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011 11:42 p.m.

Small fire breaks out on Academic Center roof

Firemen clear the scene outside of the Academic center Tuesday night. Michelle Rattinger | Senior Photo Editor

A small fire broke out on the roof of Academic Center Tuesday at about 11 p.m, but a D.C. Fire and EMS spokesperson said the flames were contained by by 11:30 p.m.

A wood decking caught fire but the cause has “not yet” been determined, spokesman Pete Piringer said. Trucks from the M Street, Chinatown and Foggy Bottom firehouses responded to the 11:15 p.m. call, Piringer said.

“The fire is under control,” he said, adding that there are no reported injuries.

The fire shut down 22nd Street between H and I streets.

Firefighters exited the building at about 11:41 p.m.

Priya Anand contributed to this report.

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A wall meant to protect Washington Harbour from high water is now up but it wasn't in place Monday to prevent flooding in the Georgetown area. Jordan Emont| Contributing photo editor

Businesses along the Georgetown waterfront were evacuated Monday when high water from the Potomac flooded the popular harbor area.

D.C. Fire spokesman Pete Piringer said D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services responded to flooding reports just before 8 a.m., with high tides hitting the area around 8:30 a.m.

The flood wall that is normally raised with flood warnings was never erected, Piringer said.

“For whatever reason the wall was not up,” Piringer said.

No injuries have been reported, he added. Gas and electricity at the site are under control, and by noon the floodgate was raised.

Piringer said a coastal flood warning is in effect, and another high tide is expected at 9:30 p.m.

Tony & Joe’s Seafood Place, one restaurant on the waterfront, took in a “considerable amount of water,” Piringer said. Other restaurants like Farmers & Fishers, Nick’s Riverside Grille, Cabanas and Sequoia are closed as the situation is assessed.

A parking garage also flooded, Piringer said, and cars had to be towed out.

Piringer said the large amount of rain and wind Saturday caused the Potomac to flood.

Other locations in the District flooded over the weekend, including parts of the Tidal Basin, East Potomac Park and Hains Point.

DCist has additional photos of the damage.

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Updated 10:54 a.m.

A female student was hit by a car outside Schenley Hall at approximately 7:50 a.m. Tuesday morning and transported by ambulance shortly thereafter, according to eyewitness accounts.

D.C. Fire spokesman Pete Piringer confirmed the victim was an adult female and was transported by ambulance with “serious but not life-threatening injuries.”

University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard confirmed the victim was a student and said she was “crossing the street outside of the crosswalk” at the time of the incident.

“The student was alert and conscious and was transported to GW Hospital,” Sherrard said. “The student is expected to be treated and released today. Metropolitan Police are handling the investigation since it occurred on city streets.”

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The Marvin Center was evacuated Saturday but fire officials confirmed there was no fire.

The Marvin Center was evacuated Saturday at about 2:20 p.m. after a student reported an odor in a stairwell, but a D.C. Fire official confirmed there were no signs of fire.

Three firetrucks responded to the call, but John Ellis, a D.C. fire responder, said there was no smoke or fire and the scene would be cleared shortly.

D.C. Fire Spokesman Pete Piringer said the odor might have been caused by an overused elevator motor.

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Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010 5:03 p.m.

Small fire breaks out on Lisner stage

D.C. Firefighters respond to a fire in Lisner Auditorium Thursday | Jordan Emont | Hatchet Staff Photographer

A small fire broke out in Lisner Auditorium Thursday afternoon due to an overheated light fixture, D.C. Fire spokesman Pete Piringer said.

“There was no major fire, nothing to be alarmed about,” Piringer said, adding that the auditorium had no damage.

A stage technician, who declined to give his name, said he was on the main stage when the fire started.

“We saw the fire, we put it out with a fire extinguisher, we followed the protocol,” he said.

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