Thursday, March 13, 2008


Arriving on the scene: one of five or six ladder trucks called out to this fire.
Notice the smoky, hazy air.

Last night, while I was snapping pictures of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry Temple, firetrucks started screaming up 16th Street. It was a virtual parade of trucks! After I finished taking my pictures, I hopped in the car to head home, but instead ended up taking pictures of firefighters working on this building (see below) in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of D.C. This is my first foray into taking pictures of this kind of event.

Breaking out windows: notice the firefighter on the ladder truck in the right center of this picture.
Prior to him climbing up that ladder to knock out the window,
they used the ladder itself as a battering ram.

I never saw any flames, but there was a ton of smoke and it was quite thick and palatable. (It's 2:36 a.m.--almost two hours since I left the scene and came home and I still smell like smoke! I think I was only down there for about 30, maybe 45 minutes, tops.)

Some of D.C.'s finest, walking from their staging area up to the scene of the fire.

I hope everyone got out of the buildings safely and that they're able to return home or find new homes quickly. I can't imagine how terrifying this must have been or the challenges these folks face in the weeks and months ahead.

*** UPDATE @ 8:43 AM, 03.13.08 ***

Turns out, this was a five alarm fire and it spread to the Meridian Hill Baptist Church on 16th Street (I'll be posting a picture of that church in a couple of weeks, as part of the my The Churches of 16th Street series.) Here are a couple of links to news stories from area stations (WJLA ABC 7, WRC TV NBC4) and the Washington Post.

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 3/08


Jess said...

God I love your photos. That last one with the crosswalk is especially striking.

Washington Rimmasch Family said...

I agree. Striking is the perfect word to describe the last one. What an exciting night! It's a shame so many people lost their homes though.
P.s. I picked a song and would love to hear what you think of my choice... It's under the so far this week post.

Dusty Lens said...

Too bad the fire had to happen. That is never a good scenario. But you made a grand photo journal of the scene. Excellent pics!

D.C. Confidential said...

Jess: I'm glad you enjoy these! I liked the one of the crosswalk, too!

Nikki: Yeah, I can't imagine losing my home to fire (or flood or tornado or hurricane, for that matter.) The loss must be so painful. (P.S. I left a comment on your blog.)

DL: It is a bummer that a fire has to happen in order to get pictures like this, but, like you said, I tried to make the best of it. Thanks for the compliment!

The Artful Eye said...

Thank God for firefighters! and what are you doing running around after midnight? Be careful.

These photos are amazing and what I find interesting is how colorful they are in an eerie way. Third pic down is a great motion shot. It looks like two firefighters in a skirmish.

We experienced horrific fire this past October in San Diego and will always be on guard from Sept. - November.

D.C. Confidential said...

AE: Amen! And I was out running around at midnight actually on my way home from seeing a movie with my sister. Most parts of the city feel pretty safe these days (and generally are), but as a woman I tend not to be out alone at night taking pictures. That seems like a recipe for disaster (which really pisses me off, but that's a rant for another day.)

I watched the news about the fires in San Diego. The devastation was astonishing! Here's hoping for a little more rain this year.

Lisa Sarsfield said...

I love the middle photo the best of these 3. The water pouring out really draws my attention depsite what the water is for. I am impressed. I like the lighting and the lights. very nice. I also love the movement in the 3rd shot, it's very lomo (my latest interest!)

d.c. confidential said...

Lisa: Thank you! I liked the water in the second picture, too! It almost looks serene compared to the chaos around it (and the raging fire it put out long after I left.)

I'm intrigued by lomography. I just read up about it on your blog. Fascinating...