Since January, 2003
            
 (a random before-and-after moment)
July 18, 2006
July 8, 2018
Half at L, Looking South-Southeast (see more)

At about 3:20 on Wednesday afternoon, a fire broke out on the roof of the Capper Seniors apartment building at 900 5th St., SE, quickly becoming a massive blaze that hours later continued to burn.
Nearby neighbors, Marines, and workers ran into the building to help get the residents out, in advance of the huge emergency response. Multiple reports from residents and neighbors say that no alarms were heard and no sprinklers went off.
Ward 6 council member Charles Allen reported that all residents are accounted for, and building residents were being looked after first at the Capper Community Center and then at King Greenleaf Recreation Center in Southwest.
There's no word yet on how the fire started.
This video and this shot from Channel 4 show that the main dormer facing Virginia Avenue (as seen in the above photo) had collapsed within 90 minutes. Twitter was filled with images from neighborhood residents and the DC Fire Department of the blaze and the response.
This building was the first built as a result of the Capper HOPE VI program, with construction starting in early 2005 and move-ins starting in early 2007. It was the first building that I documented from start to finish, and seeing this today makes me so sad. But I am so relieved that it appears all were rescued safely.
Much more to come, I'm sure.
UPDATE: This from ANC rep Meredith Fascett gives an early look at how the displaced seniors are being looked after in these early hours. The Van Ness Elementary PTO is taking donations to distribute to fire victims, and there will be more information on how to donate necessities, meals, times, and more.
UPDATE II: And here is the 11 pm briefing at the scene from Mayor Bowser.
UPDATE III: The Capitol Hill Community Foundation, working with Meredith Fascett and the Van Ness PTO, has created the Arthur Capper Seniors Recovery Fund, where donations to help the building's residents will be most gratefully accepted.
Also, the DC Fire Department put together this video from the scene.
Comments (17)
   
 
 More About Capper Seniors/900 5th St.

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Comments

Gamble Rogers says: (9/20/18 5:54 AM)
Wow — thanks for the update, JD. Amazing to learn that everyone got out safely. Please continue to post links for any group accepting donations to help.


Bruce says: (9/20/18 6:43 AM)
Near Southeast Community Partners worked at the scene to provide food, face masks, water and essentials for the seniors. Seniors received food, water, juice, toothbrushes, toothpaste and more as they were loaded onto buses for the trip to King Greenleaf.
We are raising funds for the seniors through our website. Many have lost everything.

Please visit link and give what you can to help our neighbors in need.
Donations are already coming in.
Many thanks to DC Fire, EMS and MPD for their swift action.

Thank you.


202_cyclist says: (9/20/18 7:35 AM)
Bruce-- thank you for the assistance you provided yesterday to both rescue and care for our neighbors affected by this fire.

As awful as this fire was (and it was terrible) I am relieved it didn't happen at 2 AM when people would be asleep and I am also relieved that there was minimal wind to prevent the fire from spreading to surrounding structures.


Bruce says: (9/20/18 7:42 AM)
Thank you. You are right. It would have been much worse at that hour.
Now we need to ensure that these nice folks have what they need for the long term.
I must admit, we are truly shaken by this. We were inside the building getting residents out with thick smoke in the halls. Many were in wheelchairs, which took time.
The marines were amazing.


Bruce says: (9/20/18 8:14 AM)
NBC4 will be promoting our efforts to raise funds for the seniors today on the 11AM news.


conngs0 says: (9/20/18 10:46 AM)
The TV footage of the Marines sprinting towards the fire is truly remarkable. Definitely grateful to have them as neighbors as well as all of the other folks who were nearby and rushing to help. I'm trying to focus on those positives rather than the seemingly obvious shortcomings of the building management company, which put so many already-vulnerable people at risk.


walt says: (9/20/18 12:11 PM)
I'll chime in to give kudos to Anne and Bruce Darconte. I was nearby yesterday, and Anne and Bruce definitely saved some lives. Anne said she was up in her loft and saw flames shooting through the roof and went running over. No alarms, no sprinklers going off, so they banged on doors. Later at the community center, Anne and Bruce were right there helping and I think they also coordinated all the sandwiches that were brought in. The residents and responders didn't have enough masks, and I had a box of HEPA masks so I came home to get them. By the time I returned, someone (I think Anne or Bruce) had gone to Harris Teeter and bought them out of Medical-type masks, which they distributed. They also brought bags of personal supplies (toothpaste, etc).
It takes major guts to run into a burning building and a lot of heart to stick around and help out afterwards. So I do want to go on record to thank Anne and Bruce for their efforts. Huge impact on the entire community. Thank you!


jdc says: (9/20/18 1:47 PM)
Some reporter at a news conference today (about that terrible stabbing of the woman in Logan Circle) asked about sprinklers/alarms. The official who answered said that the system had been checked several times over the recent years; I think April was the most recent time he mentioned. He also said that the fire was on the roof/in attic (mechanical?) and that the smoke was on the 4th floor, where alarms were going off. If I remember, he used that as an explanation for why no alarms were reportedly going off on lower levels. Only time will truly tell what went wrong, of course.


jdc says: (9/20/18 1:54 PM)
News story recounts things better than my memory can link


Bruce says: (9/20/18 4:19 PM)
Walt: I am very touched by the kind words. Many worked like a well oiled machine to help these folks. The mission is far from over. Near Southeast Community Partners is working with officials, agencies, groups and others to help ensure that the seniors get what they need going forward. Residents will not be returning to the building any time soon.
Donations are coming in but we can always use more. Until further notice, all $$ received will be directed for the seniors. That is stated on our donation page.
link

(JDC: Systems may have worked in April, but not yesterday when it mattered. ALL floors were filled with smoke. That's first hand).

Thanks again.


dude says: (9/20/18 11:08 PM)
This sucks for all those people. Glad people seem to be ok, at least physically.

Never been so close to such a large fire, my house smells like a camp fire.


jdc says: (9/21/18 8:23 AM)
The photo at the top of this most makes it seem like the entire attic space, and likely the fourth floor, is a total loss. Has anyone seen aerial photos post-fire?


202_cyclist says: (9/21/18 12:19 PM)
In other news, does anyone know why four A10 aircraft flew over the neighborhood around 7 PM last night? I assume they did it for the Nationals game but I didn't see any kind of Air Force night promotion last night.


NatsFan says: (9/21/18 12:48 PM)
yes. flyover was for nats game, it was US Air Force day.


202_cyclist says: (9/21/18 5:43 PM)
Several reports that Taylor Gourmet is closing all of its locations. I’ve never eaten there but this is unfortunate.

link


jdc says: (9/24/18 9:01 AM)
NOOOOOOO. I love Taylor Gourmet. It's my go-to :(


spiritequality says: (10/1/18 10:19 AM)
I am really concerned that a newly constructed building apparently had a total alarm system and sprinkler system failure. I really hope this is investigated and that other newly constructed buildings in the area test their sprinkler and alarm systems somehow. This kind of thing should not happen in newer buildings (or any buildings, but especially not newer ones).

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Recent Crime Incidents Archive  
1000 B/O 1ST ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Building)
 10/19/18
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Shoplifting
 10/17/18
100 B/O N ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 10/17/18
700 B/O L ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 10/10/18
50 M ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 10/08/18
1100 B/O 10TH ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 10/07/18
100 B/O M ST SE   ROBBERY  10/05/18
700 B/O L ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft First Degree (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 10/04/18
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Building)
 09/28/18
1100 B/O 1ST ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 09/27/18
100 B/O L ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 09/26/18
100 B/O L ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 09/26/18
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 09/26/18
1100 B/O 5TH ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 09/24/18
150 B/O L ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 09/22/18
700 B/O L ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft First Degree (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 09/22/18

Recent Issued Building Permits Archive  
1100 2ND PL SE   
10/12/18 
null / DONNA G GRAHAM
AH1900071 / CONSTRUCTION
WR #3585809 - M.ALLEN / A.PRICE - 1100 2ND PLACE SE - PEPCO CREWS WILL BE SPLICING CABLES AT NIGHT STARTING 10 / 15 / 18 UNTIL 11 / 2 / 18 FROM 10:00 PM TIL 7:00AM MONDAY THROUGH SUNDAYS
1346 4TH ST SE   
09/28/18 
ALAN OWINGS / ROBERT HENRY
AH1801345 / CONSTRUCTION
After Hours Permit for 10 / 08 / 2018 to perform construction work with the below activities: Interior Operations: 7AM - 7PM - ADVANCED NOTICE TO RESIDENTS, OPERATION CONTACT PERSON ON SITE TO ADDRESS ANY UNEXPECTED NOISE ISSUES BEFORE 9:00AM WITH CONTACT NAME AND TELEPHONE. Exterior Operations: 9AM-7PM - NO EXTERIOR ACTIVITY, TRAFFIC, NOISE GENERATION BEFORE 9am WITH ON SITE OBSERVANCE. ...
   
10/09/18 
FC 1346, LLC / null
E1900300 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
10/18/18 
FC 1346, LLC / DFM DEVELOPMENT SERVICES, LLC
B1809670 / CONSTRUCTION
Parcel O-2 at the Yards. Revision to Permit B1610576 for installation of flood wall on 5th Street, SE, the reduction of roadway width, and widening of sidewalk to provide adequate pedestrian clear space between flood wall and edge of tree pit. TPR
2 I ST SE   
09/25/18 
MCDONALDS CORPORATION / TAMIKA STATON; OTIS
EN1802612 / SHOP DRAWING
Install 1 New G2S Elevator - 4000LBS @ 350FPM
   
09/25/18 
MCDONALDS CORPORATION / TAMIKA STATON; OTIS
EN1802611 / SHOP DRAWING
Install 3 new G2S Elevators - 3500LBS @ 350FPM
   
09/26/18 
MCDONALDS CORPORATION / null
E1811060 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
10/09/18 
CRESECENT CAPTIAL VIEW / null
P1900223 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
10/17/18 
MCDONALDS CORPORATION / DONNA G GRAHAM
AH1900080 / CONSTRUCTION
WR #3573836 - M.ALLEN / BRUNO - WARD 6 - 20003 - PEPCO CREWS WILL BE WORKING #2 I ST SE - MAY NEED TO BLOCK "I" STREET ON OCCASION TO INSTALL NETWORK TRANSFORMERS AND INSTALL AND SPLICE CABLES - CREW WILL BE WORKING AT NIGHTS DURING THE WEEK (MONDAY-FRIDAYS) FROM 9PM TIL 7AM - PEPCO CREWS WILL ALSO BE WORKING SATURDAY AND SUNDAYS FROM 6AM TIL 6PM - WORK IS ONGOING
4 I ST SE   
10/09/18 
CRESCENT COMMUNITIES / null
P1900221 / SUPPLEMENTAL
328 K ST SE   
09/27/18 
MARK BARRETT / null
E1811075 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
10/04/18 
MARK BARRETT / BJORN FALK
SOL1800999 / CONSTRUCTION
Installation of a 5.559kW solar PV system. Roof mounted, 17 panels with integrated microinverters.
401 L ST SE   
10/11/18 
MICHAEL R BRICKMAN / FLOYD H. FURR
P1900299 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
10/11/18 
MICHAEL R BRICKMAN / DARIUS LYVERS 703-491-1234
M1900108 / SUPPLEMENTAL
300 M ST SE 8 20024   
09/24/18 
BARBARA D HAMLETT / null
P1809404 / SUPPLEMENTAL
300 M ST SE   
09/25/18 
FEDERAL CENTER LP / null
E1811000 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
09/25/18 
FEDERAL CENTER LP / null
E1811001 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
09/25/18 
FEDERAL CENTER LP / null
E1810999 / SUPPLEMENTAL
400 M ST SE   
10/18/18 
CAPPER SENIOR 11 LIMITED PARTNERSHIP / null
E1900650 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1111 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
10/17/18 
GALLERY CAPITOL RIVERFRONT PROPERTY LLC / null
E1900581 / SUPPLEMENTAL
79 POTOMAC AVE SE 1ST FL   
10/03/18 
RIVERFRONT HOLDINGS I LLC / null
P1900101 / SUPPLEMENTAL
71 POTOMAC AVE SE   
09/28/18 
FORIDA ROCK PROPERTIES INC / BARR CONCRETE
AH1801325 / CONSTRUCTION
After hours to pour concrete with pump truck 9 / 28 / 2018 to 10 / 28 / 22018 from 11pm to 7am
   
10/04/18 
FORIDA ROCK PROPERTIES INC / BARR CONCRETE
AH1900029 / CONSTRUCTION
Afterhours to pour concrete with pump truck saturday 10 / 06 / 2018 from 12am to 7am
79 POTOMAC AVE SE   
10/04/18 
RIVERFRONT HOLDINGS I LLC / null
M1900054 / SUPPLEMENTAL
201 TINGEY ST SE   
10/09/18 
JBG/SEFC 170 LLC / DONNA G GRAHAM
AH1900051 / CONSTRUCTION
WR #3566756 - M.ALLEN / BRUNO - 201 TINGEY ST SE - PEPCO CREWS WILL BE INSTALLING NETWORK TRANSFORMERS AND INSTALLING CABLES - PEPCO WILL HAVE TO SHUT DOWN 3RD ST BETWEEN WATER ST & TINGEY ST SE TO SET TRANSFORMERS ONLY - WORK WILL BEGIN 10 / 12 / 18 THROUGH 11 / 30 / 18 - MONDAY THRU FRIDAYS FROM 10PM TIL 8AM AND SATURDAYS AND SUNDAYS FROM 6AM TIL 6PM
227 TINGEY ST SE   
10/09/18 
FOREST CITY WASHINGTON / DFM DEVELOPMENT SERVICES, LLC
AH1900056 / CONSTRUCTION
Yards Parcel L-2. Afterhours permit for follow-up test run of the precast concrete façade panel installation. Work to take place 7pm on 10 / 10 to 7am on 10 / 11.
   
10/15/18 
GONE YARD HOTEL OWNER LLC / MICHAEL ERIC CAMPBELL 703-631-2711
FB1900011 / SUPPLEMENTAL
NO. TO BE INSTALLED (2) GROSS RATING: 999999 BTU / HR NATURAL GAS STEAM PRESSURE 160 PSI OUTPUT: 960,000 BTU / HR
   
10/15/18 
GONE YARD HOTEL OWNER LLC / MICHAEL ERIC CAMPBELL
UP1900012 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
10/17/18 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / DFM DEVELOPMENT SERVICES, LLC
AH1900079 / CONSTRUCTION
Yards Parcel L-2. Afterhours permit for the purpose of installing precast concrete façade panels. Work to take place 7PM to 7AM, 10 / 22 through 11 / 3.
AH = After Hours; B = Alteration & Repair; D = Demolition; E = Electrical; FB = Boiler; M = Mechanical; P = Plumbing and Gas; PC = Post Card; R = Raze; SG = Sign; TL = Tenant Layout; TN = Tent; RW = Retaining Wall;

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225 Virginia/200 I ('12)
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1015 Half Street ('10)
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55 M ('09)
100 M ('08)
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70/100 I ('08)
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400 M ('07)
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20 M ('07)
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