City Desk

Fire Department Faces Internal Strife Over Mount Pleasant Blaze

It was reported a few weeks ago that two D.C. Fire Investigators are now checking fire hydrants after claiming the Eastern Market fire was arson. Now, a firefighter is under scrutiny for critiquing the way the Mount Pleasant fire was handled. The Fire Department brass is allegedly blaming the catastrophe on one firefighter–saying she should have checked the basement (where the blaze began). The firefighter says she was redirected up a few floors and has the radio transcript to prove it.

Firehouse.com is reporting:

"A D.C. fire captain is under fire for blowing the whistle on what she believes went wrong during the huge apartment building fire in Mount Pleasant.

The five-alarm fire on March 12 was one of the most destructive in D.C. history, displacing 200 people and spreading to a neighboring church.

Now D.C. Fire and EMS Capt. Vanessa Coleman, who criticized how the blaze was fought, is under fire herself.

'She was made a scapegoat,' said Richard Condit, senior counsel for the Government Accountability project. Condit represents people claiming protection as whistleblowers, a category that now includes D.C. Fire and EMS Capt. Vanessa Coleman. "

Coleman has been reassigned and ordered to submit to a mental evaluation. The cause of the fire is still listed as undetermined. We wrote a cover story on the Eastern Market fire controversy.

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