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

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Body Found at Scene of Massive Isherwood Fire

The smoke from yesterday's fire was hard to miss. It could be seen for miles around. The source of the smoke was an apartment building located at 1603 Isherwood in Kingman Park. There was an explosion right around 4pm, followed by a giant plume of black smoke. The explosion knocked off the back wall of the apartment building, and also blew out windows in nearby homes. At least 12 units, and three rowhouses were impacted. More than 30 people could not sleep in their homes last night, with someone them having lost everything in the blaze. One man (a tenant of the building) and his dog perished in the explosion/fire. There bodies were found by investigators after the fire was extinguished. The area is being treated as a crime scene, and FBI/ATF agents are/have been on-site.
Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 8.00.58 AM

More fire news:



Anonymous Marty said...

This would be Chris and his dog Bella. :(
Chris was an absolute sweetheart. Always had a smile and a hello and a kind word for everyone.
So sad. Guess it really hasn't set in for me yet. RIP.

Jun 5, 2014, 8:55:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup, that was Chris and Bella. He was the sweetest person ever. He was the first person to greet us when we moved into the neighborhood and would always come out of his way to bring Bella over to hang out with our dog. So sad. Still cant believe it.

Jun 5, 2014, 9:56:00 AM

Blogger Jill Gerber said...

My worst fear was and is that it was Chris and Bella. I chatted with him and gave Bella a pat just last Saturday. Such a nice guy and the caretaker of our alley cats. I haven't seen a rodent in our alley for years, thanks to Chris and those cats. So sad.

Jun 5, 2014, 10:23:00 AM

Anonymous Marty said...

Confirmed via WaPo: Chris Christofi likely victim of fatal Northeast Washington fire, sister says

Jun 5, 2014, 12:33:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

there was some kind of bomb threat somewhere on the east side yesterday

Jun 5, 2014, 12:54:00 PM

Blogger inked said...

It was a suspicious package in the alley next to H Street Country Club. they brought out a bomb sniffing robot, but it turned out (thankfully) to be a false alarm. No relation to what happened on Isherwood.

Jun 5, 2014, 1:07:00 PM

Anonymous Trinidad Resident said...

We live in the southern part of Trinidad and have been hearing large explosions going off around the neighborhood for weeks. We wondered if it was just kids playing with fireworks, but the noise is always alarmingly louder than any firework I've ever seen. Has anyone else been hearing those?

Jun 5, 2014, 1:38:00 PM

Blogger inked said...

Trinidad Resident,
I've been hearing a lot of fireworks recently. Some of these fireworks can be quite loud.People might be setting off stuff that came in from Pennsylvania or somewhere with fireworks laws less restrictive than those in DC. You can expect the intensity to step up as we approach the 4th of July.

Jun 5, 2014, 2:12:00 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

Rest in peace.

Jun 5, 2014, 2:15:00 PM

Anonymous Annoyingmous said...

Those who knew him, I'm sorry for your loss.

Jun 5, 2014, 3:13:00 PM

Anonymous poo poo said...

RIP, and my condolences to family, friends, and the neighborhood critters.

Does anyone know the cause of the explosion?

Jun 5, 2014, 4:42:00 PM

Blogger BethieHD said...

My condolences to those who knew Chris and his neighbors who have lost their homes. Sending prayers.

Jun 5, 2014, 5:13:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please consider donating to my friend Laurie who lost her home, dog Biggie Smalls, and cat Lila in this tragic fire. https://www.crowdrise.com/laurieshome/fundraiser/choichoi

Jun 5, 2014, 5:30:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The loud explosions in Trinidad are M-80s. They are not legal anywhere in the U.S. and they are dangerous. The police are aware of this. If you call 911, be sure to mention you are calling about "M-80s" and not fireworks or they will ignore you. Of course, they still might ignore you...

Jun 5, 2014, 7:58:00 PM

Anonymous Trinidad Guy said...

any possibility this is a meth lab explosion? More and more signs seem to point that way..

Jun 6, 2014, 8:42:00 AM

Blogger inked said...

Trinidad Guy,
That sounds highly unlikely. Meth labs smell terrible. I very much doubt that someone would attempt to cook in a shared space like that.

Jun 6, 2014, 9:11:00 AM

Anonymous Trinidad Guy said...

I hear that but:

1) A man was inside and if it was a gas explosion, he would have smelled gas long before the place blew up. Also Washington Gas said there was no service to that building.
2) No one else was in the building during that time. Why was he there?? What was he doing?

An explosion of this magnitude limits the possible causes significantly. Yes, meth labs smell bad but a decent ventilation system can mitigate this. My point is, if it's possible to have a lab in a Georgetown dorm room, it's definitely a possibility here.

Jun 6, 2014, 11:53:00 AM

Blogger inked said...

Trinidad Guy,
I think in a situation like this, it is probably best to wait for a cause of fire conclusion from the investigators.

It's important that we bear in mind that this explosion fire/is a horrible tragedy. It has claimed the life of one man, and multiple animals. We should be sensitive to that, and take care not to inadvertently compound the pain of the survivors & their loved ones by airing baseless speculations that any of the victims were engaged in criminal activity.

Jun 6, 2014, 12:07:00 PM

Blogger pat said...

given the Gas company was out the day before on a gas leak, i'm going to say it was likely a gas leak next door. this kind of thing gets built up, especially in wall spaces, or in basements, and one little spark and that's it.

Toby the cat mourns for a man who was kind to alley cats.

Jun 6, 2014, 6:40:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

was the gas company working the day of the explosion? gas smells, how could anyone not notice it?

Jun 7, 2014, 1:41:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No gas. It was an all electric building.

As for the meth lab theory. Seems like the FBI and AFT experts would have detected those chemicals by now. Nice of you to impeach someone's character like that Trinidad guy. I hope that someone returns the favor.

Jun 7, 2014, 9:35:00 PM

Blogger pat said...

given there was construction next door it could have been spilled solvents, a cracked gas piple,
a defective furnace,,,,

Jun 8, 2014, 6:42:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why was he there? What was he doing?

According to all reports, he LIVED there.

He could have been working from home, taken the day off, or had the day off due to an alternative/flexible work schedule.

Good to know that if I'm in my own home and something bad happens, some people will immediately assume I was up to no good because "I should have been at work," or something.

Jun 9, 2014, 7:09:00 PM

Anonymous Annoyingmous said...

Man, "trinidad guy" is a real piece of work.

Jun 9, 2014, 8:33:00 PM

Blogger pat said...


"Neighbors say someone complained of a gas odor about 2 weeks prior to the accident and crews immediately made repairs."

I'd guess the repairs were inadequate.

Jun 10, 2014, 11:51:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

what was the dog doing there in the middle of the day? seems kind of suspicious to me.

Jun 10, 2014, 5:07:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thoughts and prayers for Chris' family, friends, and neighbors.

Jun 11, 2014, 11:52:00 PM

Anonymous Marty said...

Police confirmation that body was Chris: Police identify man who died when building collapsed in explosion and fire

Still nothing on the cause of the explosion.

Jun 12, 2014, 8:56:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cause has been determined to be arson. Hopefully we find out the why and maybe even the who.

Jun 14, 2014, 7:41:00 AM

Blogger inked said...

Do you have a link?

Jun 14, 2014, 9:40:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was reported in one daily crime reports last week, and it shows up on the crime map. Sorry that I can't retrieve the crime report to give you a case number.

Jun 16, 2014, 6:11:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just some the record is Straight Washington Gas was on top of things from the very moments the call came in to DC Fire. No gas leaks were found none. Its a arson case that is still being looked at and everyone jumped right up to say Washington Gas. I can also tell you first hand that the leak they came out on the day before was for a meter that had a Lock on it already turnoff. Neighbor and friend you will be missed. RIP .

Jun 17, 2014, 7:06:00 AM


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