A look at what's going on in Trinidad, on H Street, and in the larger area north of Capitol Hill.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Massive Fire Guts Jimmy's Tire

Firefighters arrived on the scene around 1:30pm. The fire continues to burn. Firefighters broke down the door of at least one neighboring, but unconnected rowhouse. Three people escaped unharmed from the tire store.
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Currently none of us has any water pressure, and things are very smokey, but less so than they were. The family whose door was broken down is safely situated at a neighbor's house where they have been invited to stay. I received a phone call from a neighbor who swore she could see the smoke a couple of hours ago when her plane took off from National. As you can see, I got lots of pictures. Not shown is the giant fireball that came shooting out of the right side of the building around 2pm.
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The water pressure is back. The firefighters are now using foam, though I believe they may still be using some water. There is a report of one firefighter injury. Firefighters expect to have the fire out sometime tonight with continued observation through tomorrow. One source cited the cause as a possible spark from the nearby condo construction.
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At 7am they are still spraying the fire with foam that now coats the streets and gives the appearance of freshly plowed snow. And once again there is no water for many of the nearby residents. A section of the building has now been cut apart, allowing better access to the fire. If Jimmy's Tire could have been saved as a shell when this fire started that possibility is now gone. This one is a tear down for sure. Let's hope the owner had lots of insurance that will cover this.
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57 Comments:

Blogger soul searcher said...

good photos. i put some of my own in the psa thread.

Jan 21, 2008, 4:40:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband and I were coming back from Virginia about 4 and you could see this massive black smoke cloud as we came across the bridge. At some point we realized that it was beyond the Capitol and then a fire truck was staged at 13th and Constitution. Jimmy's Tire hasn't had much luck lately.

Jan 21, 2008, 5:03:00 PM

 
Anonymous poo poo said...

yikes. they really have had bad luck.

good thing the fire was controlled.

i got pix from over here at 3rd and I. one hell of a blaze.

i'll have to post them.

Jan 21, 2008, 5:30:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was able to see the smoke from Dupont.

Jan 21, 2008, 5:46:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On nbc4 news, one of the employees said that it was a spark from the construction [condos) site next door that started the fire. Wasn't there a collapsed wall from the same source just a week or so ago? ya reckon that the owner of Jimmy's tire is ready to sell yet?

Jan 21, 2008, 6:22:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please oh please let something great come out of the ashes of Jimmy's Tire. New townhomes or condos, maybe a funky restaurant or bar?

Jan 21, 2008, 7:20:00 PM

 
Anonymous Bill said...

"ABC 7/NewsChannel 8's Jennifer Donelan reports one firefighter was transported with injuries."

Let's hope he's alright.

Jan 21, 2008, 7:34:00 PM

 
Blogger monkeyrotica said...

Pic #9 is what I expect to see when I end up in Hell. Great shots.

Jan 21, 2008, 8:14:00 PM

 
Anonymous George Townsend said...

Until I hear otherwise from the powers-that-be, I firmly believe this was an act of arson. It's way too coincidental that the place collapsed in December and burned down in January.

I won't hijack this thread, but the last thing the city needs is more condominiums.

Great photographs!

Jan 21, 2008, 8:36:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 7:20 pm..you wrote..
Please oh please let something great come out of the ashes of Jimmy's Tire. New townhomes or condos, maybe a funky restaurant or bar?

just a thought...

the place is still burning as of 8:30 pm...let's think of the folks who might very well be out of employment as a result...perhaps it's a little too premature to be scoping out a funky restaurant or bar to take the place of a neighborhood business that's been around for 70+ years

Jan 21, 2008, 8:36:00 PM

 
Anonymous poo poo said...

bye bye tire store.

sorry to see you go.

i'll miss the junkets like you.

there are far too few in dc.

i too want to see something rise from the ashes, and i also think that it is way too coincidental that the fire came within a week of the wall collapsing.

so far, according to the media, no one was hurt. good.

but i will be glad to see that p.o.s. get replaced with something that will benefit the district's economy.

sorry, i call 'em like i see 'em.

and i have a feeling the owner will be living large in a two car garage in price george's county.

as per usual.

Jan 21, 2008, 8:50:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry Anon 8:36 -- Jimmy's Tire was a P.O.S. and a major eyesore. I'm not sorry to see it go.

Jan 21, 2008, 9:45:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First let me express my sympathy for those that lost their jobs. But I submit that it is not premature to express our hopes for this site. Jimmy's had a 70 year run. To my knowledge they were not a community anchor that one would reasonably expect from a business with that tenure. Our community is at a major turning point - it is up to us to turn this unfortunate incident into a positive. That means something that will forward the economic redevelopment. We have too many shanty town stores. H St deserves better - WE are responsible for making it happen!

Jan 21, 2008, 9:50:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I vote for a second location of "FASHION ONE." Maybe George could find himself something pretty snazzy there... :)

Jan 21, 2008, 9:52:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's foul to hear the barely muted cheers that arise from someones misfortune. Jimmy's has been there for deacades and is a family-owned business that had been passed down among generations. Last I heard he provided jobs, contirubuted to the economy and paid his taxes. My guess is that some of the posters to this site would be hard pressed to match such humble contributions. You should be ashamed and embarrassed.

Jan 21, 2008, 10:26:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe Englert said:

Poo Poo and George please don't accuse people of arson--that is just plain wreckless and indefensible.
I have had three ruinous fires at my businesses now. It COST me hundreds of thousands of dollars out of my own pocket. Lloyd's of London never paid my claim (s). I also had a hurricane destroy part of my house in N.O. during Katrina. I also did not plan this...
You would never wish a fire on your worst enemy. Please, use your head before putting such an accusation out on the web. Very dangerous territory accusing someone of a felony.

Jan 21, 2008, 10:32:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who owns Jimmy's Tire? What would be there incentive (if any) to rebuild on the site?

I only ask b/c there are some comments that maybe its a good thing that this place burned down (I.e., it will spur redevelopment of the site).

If the owner really doesn't care about the property, isn't it also possible that the owner will just leave the property in its current charred state (and run off with the insurance check to someplace warmer than here).

I only pose this b/c it seems that H St. has more than a few property/business owners who seem content to just allow their properties to decay/fall apart while they wait for a big payday from outside developers.

Jan 21, 2008, 10:36:00 PM

 
Blogger DCJaded said...

I've gone to Jimmy's several times to get spare and replacement tires. In fact I just was going there this week to get some new jeep tires mounted. I always found the people there really nice and helpful. I never saw many of the newer residents in there though so I would not have imagined that he would have stayed in business that much longer. Its a shame.

Jan 22, 2008, 12:23:00 AM

 
Blogger soul searcher said...

I second Joe's call to not make a presumption about arson. (full disclosure: a few hours ago, i suggested to a friend that arson might be involved, but none of us know ANYTHING and no investigation has taken place. Fire investigators are well trained, I'm sure they'll narrow down a cause of the blaze soon enough.

As a layperson, to my eye, I only saw flames visibly from the roof of the structure, not on the outside walls, but it was hard to see past the plumes of black smoke.

I'm sure the professionals will make their determination shortly.

Jan 22, 2008, 12:33:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got a set of tires for my car from them last year. The price was right and I didn't have to wait around a mechanic's waiting room while my car was being worked on since I walked home and had breakfast.

They were pretty friendly and they worked quickly. I really hope that they had insurance and that they reopen soon enough.

Jan 22, 2008, 12:38:00 AM

 
Anonymous Hillman said...

The Washington City Paper had a terrific article on possible arsons on the Hill, a few weeks back.

Joe - when I think possible arson I don't automatically think it was set by the building owner. IF arson would be a possible cause I'd think it'd be more likely caused by someone else, especially in light of the interesting City Paper article showing how many fires have broken out on the Hill in recent months.

Jan 22, 2008, 8:52:00 AM

 
Anonymous ro said...

Good grief. Show some respect. the owner's livelihood has been thrown into jeopardy, his employees are out of a job and his customers have to find somewhere else to go. Even with an insurance check he's probably going to have to come up with tens of thousands dollars out of his own pocket to help relocate or rebuild and there's no guarantee the customers will return in great enough numbers to make the effort worthwhile. Just because this business wasn't a fancy wine bar, upscale restaurant or something more refined to the tastes of the new residents doesn't make this any less of a tragedy.

Jan 22, 2008, 8:58:00 AM

 
Blogger inked said...

To address a few comments here,
1. Jimmy's Tire was open and operating before this fire. The owner was conscious of who parked on his lot, ect. It was my impression that they did decent business because they always seemed busy. I think they also got some business just because Florida is a busy street. I know that the owner had received some interest in purchasing his land from the condo developers, but had turned them down. I don't see any reason to believe that the owner would take the insurance money and run off leaving his ruins to rot.

2. The fire a good thing? I don't see how. We've got a super expensive not very environmentally friendly disaster here with one injured firefighter, several people of of jobs, and one guy out his business. I don't know if Jimmy will rebuild, but I'm sorry they were unable to save the building, and I hope this does not lead to him selling to the developers who are building the townhomes and condos on the adjacent sites. I'd much rather stare out my window at Jimmy's Tire each morning than be forced to look at more of those awful and overpriced things they are now attempting to sell. So while many of us were not immune to thinking that the cool building that housed Jimmy's might make a cool brewery restaurant, or funky arts thing of some sort, I don't think any of us wanted to see Jimmy's go like this.

Jan 22, 2008, 9:07:00 AM

 
Blogger Klav said...

Nice coverage of breaking news, Inked. Thanks for keeping community in the loop.

What time did you get water pressure back? The DCFD ended up tapping into a hydrant all the way over at 8th and I Streets NE--from about 3-10 p.m.

Jan 22, 2008, 9:13:00 AM

 
Blogger inked said...

Klav,
unfortunately we didn't have our water pressure back by the time I had to leave this morning. We temporarily regained it last night, but it was out by 10pm and didn't return after that. Hopefully this situation will have changed by the time I get home.

Jan 22, 2008, 9:25:00 AM

 
Anonymous virrey said...

I went there to get a nail pulled out of my tire and get the tire patched. They charged me eight dollars and got it done rather quickly. They were usually pretty busy and the owner was friendly. I think a few of the employees were local and lived around here.

I can't see this fire as anything other than a disaster for the owner and a disaster for the community. Inked, was the smoke very bad in the house. My wife had the day off yesterday and she had to get out of the house because the smoke and burning tire smell was provoking her asthma. When we returned in the evening, the wind was blowing it in another direction.

Jan 22, 2008, 9:39:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's very possible that repair/reconstruction of the collapsed wall set off a few sparks and started the fire. Just plain BAD luck!

Jan 22, 2008, 9:41:00 AM

 
Blogger inked said...

Virrey,
my house smells a bit like burnt rubber, and it is smoky outside, but I didn't have much of a smoke problem inside my house.

Jan 22, 2008, 9:54:00 AM

 
Blogger Tom Aloisi said...

Hey, nice to meet you on the sidewalk yesterday, Inked. It really was an interesting shared community experience to watch the fire. Great photos.

One of the local stations interviwed the owners son(?) who said a crew was welding at the back of the collapased wall, trying to fix it after the recent collapse. He said the sparks were going inside the building through the cracks in the broken wall. Welding does make a lot of sparks so it's conceivable that this was the cause.

Jan 22, 2008, 10:40:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all, I would like to extend my sympathies to the owner and the employees of the tire shop. Thanks to DC roads, I had to visit Jimmy's tire shop more than once and had a very good experience. The owner and the staff were efficient and friendly.
About the tire fumes, does anyone know if they are harmful and if so what is the radius (in blocks) that the effect could linger. Also, does staying indoors help?

Jan 22, 2008, 11:04:00 AM

 
Blogger inked said...

No health risks according to the spokesman from the DCFD that was quoted in the Post.

Jan 22, 2008, 11:07:00 AM

 
Anonymous I'll miss Jimmy's said...

This is a loss to the community. I loved being able to drive to Jimmy's, walk home and then walk back to pick my car up the next day. If you can't see the value in this type of close proximity service, poo poo, et al, then you should move back to Iowa. I just call 'em like I see 'em.

Jan 22, 2008, 11:12:00 AM

 
Blogger inked said...

Hey, one thing I noticed that pops up in the comments a couple of times is this 70 year thing. Jimmy's wasn't around for 70 years. It opened in the 1970s, so think more 30-40 years.

Jan 22, 2008, 11:24:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mac's tires is still around for all your ghetto tire needs.

Jan 22, 2008, 11:39:00 AM

 
Blogger DCJaded said...

LOL, I am amused by the DCFD's comments about "no health risks". I work in the air quality field for the govt and used to work in hazardous waste so i am familiar with the combustion products from tire fires. Luckily it was winter and people had their windows closed but I would change your heating/AC filters. Also for those that had vehicles outside, some of the combustion products can be corrosive to paint, so wash your car, if you care about that sort of thing.

Jan 22, 2008, 12:19:00 PM

 
Anonymous Jimmy's Friend said...

The Colburn family moved Jimmy's to K street in 1974. The business is 70 years old. The son runs the business now. They are good honest people. Jimmy's employs local people and gives good prices for quality work. The family has always given back to the community financially and through volunteer help. This IS what the community needs, honest peolple employing the community providing honest quality work. That my friends is what the ecomony should be built on and not some chain store or Starbucks that would take their profits out of town. Jimmy's could have left DC years ago and gone to PG or Montgomery county, but they stayed becuase they are part of the community. I hope and pray they rebuild.

Jan 22, 2008, 1:28:00 PM

 
Blogger inked said...

Thanks Jimmy's Friend, I stand corrected. I thought someone had just misread a news report. The fire is finally out, but it looks like someone dropped a bomb on the building. I hope their insurance covers everything. That was a horrible fire.

Jan 22, 2008, 3:07:00 PM

 
Blogger pobrepaul said...

four thoughts:

I just can't believe what the city is saying about the air quality, I just can't.

two: There has been a firetruck parked near my house on 11th and H since last night pumping water over to the scene, and there has not been one flier or anything alerting us to the situation. I think the city should spend less time talking to the media and more time knocking on doors to let people know why the entire are is closed off because of a toxic fire.

three: Sadly, I doubt Jimmy's will rebuild because of the cost and I would be the site will sit empty for years and not be cleaned up do to the probable litigation that will result from this fire.

four: Doesn't anyone think that it was possibly illegal to store 30,000 tire like this? I mean tire fires have been around forever and we live in a highly regulated city. I am suprised they were allowed to do this. I was told a large tire fire up by baltimore burned for 6 months a few years ago.

Jan 22, 2008, 3:48:00 PM

 
Blogger inked said...

Hey DCJaded,
I did notice some ash in my backyard. Any concern about the ability of this stuff to leech into the soil? I expect that, this not being a prolonged tire burn, the effects should hopefully be minimal. By the way I spoke with a city employee who said that anyone experiencing health concerns/anxiety could call 727-1000 and be referred to the correct authority. I do expect that elderly people, very young children, and those with respiratory conditions might experience more discomfort than the res of us, and we should all probably avoid breathing this stuff anymore than is necessary. I also plan to change my filter, as was advised above.

Jan 22, 2008, 3:57:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My car was parked 2 blocks away all day yesterday. When I started driving this morning, it smelled really funky (chemical smell). Then later on I felt slight discomfort in the chest. I had no idea that the fumes were toxic until somebody said so in an email later in the day. How does one get the smell out of the car? Guess DCFD doesn't want mass panic and hence could be downplaying effects of air quality. And who needs lawsuits?

Jan 22, 2008, 4:26:00 PM

 
Blogger inked said...

Hi anon426,
I just spoke with someone who has extensive experience in this area and he says everything should be fine. In a situation like this is is the firefighters who could have an issue, but others should be fine. He has promised to send me more info, but I think we're all ok.

Jan 22, 2008, 4:51:00 PM

 
Blogger inked said...

Anon426,
I suggest fabreeze.

Jan 22, 2008, 4:51:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live on H St Between 11th & 12th our water line burt today. We think it has somthing to do with all the water from the fire being pulled. Can Anyone confrim the same?? PLease let me know if so

Jan 22, 2008, 4:59:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jimmy's friend. I agree with you and I think that the loss of Jimmy's is a sad event for the neighborhood. Jimmy's paid taxes to the City and hired local residents. I think that the city has a hard time attacting local businesses that hire from within the community and that often times it is easier to move to PG and not deal with the city and all its issues.

I fear this incident will mire Jimmy's and the condos in litigation for years to come.

Jan 22, 2008, 5:16:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was a caused by stupidity, preventable,from the begining,domino effect,which is very sad for my family.The truth will come out about why this even started to begin with.70 years we worked with and for the people of DC.To hear some of these comments is just as sad as our building being distroyed.

Jan 22, 2008, 11:32:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the people writing to support Jimmy's Tire Shop, thank you for your support under these sad times.I've worked there for 20 years.The business started in 1925 thats over 70 years.It started at First & H NW.Three generations ago,and stayed thru good and bad times,while staying in your community pretty or not we were always open for you.To some you just don't get it and never will.

Jan 22, 2008, 11:54:00 PM

 
Blogger inked said...

To Jimmy's Tire's friends/employees/relatives,
best of of luck to you all. As previously stated I'd much rather see Jimmy's Tire, which has always been a decent neighbor, than those condos. Hopefully the money is there to rebuild should that be the chosen course. I think the most important thing is that no one, except the minimally injured fireman, was physically injured.

Jan 23, 2008, 12:08:00 AM

 
Anonymous Tires said...

To George T & POO POO,I guess you want your property value to go up when this fantasy bar goes up or have more of those ulgy cheap townhomes go up.To hear you accuse my family of arson or any other stupid reasons go around the back of building and look at the hole up against the shop.This is what caused the rear to calaspe 3 weeks ago.Insurance contractors were cutting off rear roof top which is concrete w/rebar.Using a very big circular saw w/out water or fire protection in rear started this,all of this was stupid as a result you will never see anything good come out of these.Get better facts before you put yuor foot in your mouth

Jan 23, 2008, 10:34:00 AM

 
Anonymous Emerald City said...

poo poo,

Please put in for some leave time at work so you and George T. can finally make that trek to the Wizard cause you are both heartless. Heck, if you're lucky, maybe the Tin Man will lend you his heart. Turned out he didn't really need it after all - but you two certainly do. Did they show the Wizard of Oz where you grew up in Iowa?

Jan 23, 2008, 11:46:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fear not, people. When Eastern Market burned down, DC plunked down over 2 mill in taxpayer funds for a tent to keep a handful of people working while the building was rebuilt. I am certain the district will similarly respond to Jimmy's.

Jimmy's guys, hang in there. You helped me through 2 tire slashings and I'll be back if you're there (hopefully, not for a slashing though)

Jan 23, 2008, 11:59:00 AM

 
Anonymous sheriff gonna get ya said...

is there any chance of jimmy's rebuilding the place using any part of the old facade? probably way too expensive and/or impractical, but along with not losing a long time business, it would be great not to lose another small piece of our city's architectural history. i wish jimmy's the best of luck in rebuilding.

Jan 23, 2008, 4:54:00 PM

 
Blogger soul searcher said...

DC didn't give to the Eastern Market construction out of the goodness of their heart. They gave because there was a united community behind rebuilding, the area was a major retail destination for miles around, and the vendors were tax paying businesses (plural). Jimmy's is, unfortunately, only one business with mixed community support (as evidenced in this very thread). I'm not sure if DC would put a fraction of what it put into rebuilding Eastern Market into rebuilding Jimmy's, but maybe the people will prove me wrong?

Jan 26, 2008, 2:02:00 PM

 
Anonymous Capricious said...

Annon 1132
I am a middle aged Washington native who remembers Jimmy's Tire Shop when it was located at 1st & Hn St, along with Dean's Shoe Repair Shop, Schuster's Liqueur Store, Joyner's Barber Shop and Mrs Brown's Carryout (the best half smokes in the city). It's a shame to loose business that's been around for 70 years especially because of someone being negligent. I truly hope that you are able to rebuild. I wished that I had been able to post earlier.

Jan 26, 2008, 11:34:00 PM

 
Blogger DCJaded said...

Just saw a post on wtopnews about the cause of the fire. Evidently the fire was cause by a masonary saw used by contractors to fix the wall that had collapsed. I cant find the link now, sorry.

Jan 28, 2008, 5:19:00 PM

 
Anonymous Tires were us said...

I wrote earlier about what the facts were about what actually happened.Contractors started it.Now our 83 year run has come to an end of an era,it was a good one.Thank you for everyones support.Locals,tell Poo & Towmsend to go find the wizard and get a heart or just give them a boot to stick in your mouth.

Jan 29, 2008, 8:11:00 PM

 
Anonymous Big D said...

Friend of the Family...
It is shameful how some people like George and Poo have so little compassion for the people who are suffering as result of this aweful fire. The caalous disregaurd for other people the feelings their livelihhod and their future is what makes this counrty disrected throughout the world. We need more people like Joe who wait for the facts before passing judgement.

Jan 30, 2008, 10:30:00 AM

 
Blogger Sonia said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Feb 22, 2011, 5:22:00 AM

 

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