City Desk

Major Fire at Eastern High School



Smoke billowed this afternoon from the roof of Eastern Senior High School, which is nearing the end of a $76 million renovation.

According to D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services, firefighters responded to reports of heavy black smoke coming from the building's roof shortly before 4:30 p.m. By 4:45, a second alarm had been called. East Capitol Street is closed east of Lincoln Park.

By 5:10, the smoke had stopped coming from the roof, and a police officer on the scene reported that the blaze was under control.

The school, built in 1932, has been closed since 2008 for a thorough renovation and had been scheduled to reopen this fall (although D.C. Public Schools officials recently backed off that timeline). Fire department spokesperson Pete Piringer said a "minimal amount of people" were in the building, which was quickly evacuated without incident. It's unclear if construction work was underway at the time.

Earlier today, a fire broke out at the Turner @ Green Elementary School, at 1500 Mississippi Ave. SE, causing damage to the school's playground and the building facade. Congress Heights on the Rise reported from the scene.

Photo, reporting by Arthur Delaney

UPDATE, 5:55 P.M.: The fire is out, Piringer reports from the scene. Construction crews were on the roof at Eastern today, he says, applying a waterproof rubberized membrane when the fire broke out; the roofers all escaped without incident. The blaze was contained to the roof, Piringer says, adding that any smoke or water damage to the rest of the building is "minimal."

The fire is likely accidental, Piringer says, and there looks to be no connection to the fire at Turner @ Green. That fire "totaled" playground equipment, while causing "superficial damage" to the building itself. The cause of that fire is under investigation.

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  • DC Hoodrat

    Whatever. It wasn't like the students attending either school were learning ANYTHING, ESPECIALLY Eastern.

  • Carpetbagger

    @DC Hoodrat:

    Damn...Do you need a hug, kid? You are in serious need of some positive spirituality post-haste. It does not help the elementary children to learn when they have no place to play; it further takes away from the community. The fire does not help the Eastern students, who were looking forward to returning to school in their community.

    If you don't like DC, do what I did...leave.

  • DC Hoodrat


    Eat a dick and find your way to a burning building next time.

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  • sedcdude

    And to think WCP calls itself "moderating" comments!

    DC Rat has got to be somebody's "bottom" on staff!

  • LifeTime

    Good or Bad, Eastern helped some kids. Not all kids hated Eastern.

  • LifeTime

    Good or Bad, Eastern helped some kids. Not all kids hated Eastern. This is going to cost the city.

  • arizona water damage

    It was unclear if the fire happened after the revovation or before it started. I hope for the citys sake the renovation wasn't already paid for.

    Hey Hoodrat go get a hug from your mother. I am sure she still loves you.

  • Wendy Glenn

    I am the former PTSA Vice-President of Eastern SHS. I had two sons go through Eastern SHS 2006 and 2009 my baby graduated with honors. Eastern SHS has graduated young people who received full scholarships to Georgetown, GW, Spellman and Morehouse, so don't try to use your disgusting rant on these young people. Education is what we as a community invest in and make it. When was the last time that you, DC Hoodrat volunteered at a school to help a child?

    Eastern is under renovation now and it is almost completed but the date is still up in the air.