Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mount Pleasant Fire

Last night while tucked safely in the warmth of my bed, Mt. Pleasant was alive with the scream of sirens…which is not entirely unusual for our neighborhood. Dozing off to sleep, I wondered what drama might be unfolding just a few streets down. This morning I awoke to find gridlock traffic squeezing and honking through our quiet neighborhood streets…indicating that 16th Street was most likely shut down.

As it turns out, an apartment building on Mt. Pleasant Street was all but reduced to a pile of ashes. Together, the DC, PG and Montgomery County Fire Departments successfully stopped the fire before it went on to also envelop the neighboring church. All occupants were able to safely evacuate the building.

I can’t imagine what it must be like to lose everything to a fire. Aside from the obvious financial issue, essentially it’s just stuff I guess… but so much of our personal history is tied up in our stuff. What would you grab if you only had a minute to decide? A bike? A photo album? Grandma’s sweater? It’s a great moment of truth. Where do your values lie?

According to Buddhist Philosophy, attachment is the root of human suffering. Letting go of human desires is the only way to Nirvana….I think I have a ways to go yet.

My most sincere condolences to those who lost their homes in last night’s fire. Wishing you all the very best.

Hear Mount Pleasant is currently organizing to gather money, food, and clothing for the hundreds of people who are now homeless. Please offer what support you can.

The Community of Christ will hold a prayer service tonight at 9:00 pm at La Casa/Community of Christ (3166 Mt. Pleasant St NW). All are welcome.

(photos courtesy of MJB


Michael said...

I recently came across your video on youtube, and subsequently read your blog describing the Mt. Pleasant fire. You are quite misinformed about the reports that the fire department was slow to respond. In fact, from the time the units were dispatched... The first engine and truck company arrived in less than 2 minutes. That is an incredibly fast response time, especially for an alarm in the middle of the night. The real reason why the fire was so severe was a combination of poor building construction, unsafe building conditions, and no working fire detection and suppression devices. These are all major contributing factors that an everyday police officer, with no fire service training, nor any arson investigation knowledge, would not know about. The first arriving firefighters faced conditons that were horrible at best. They stayed and searched a building that was filled with fire spreading faster and faster with every second. Conditions were so bad in fact that 3 firefighters became lost in the building and sounded "maydays" for their own rescue. The men and women that responded that night directly save the lives of at least 10 citizens of the building that were asleep at the time of the fire. To say that they responded slowly is completely inaccurate. The residents of Columbia Heights and the District as a whole have one of the most aggressive, dedicated fire departments in the country. The District of Columbia fire department is consistently considered the most experienced, and professional fire department in the United States. Many cities, including Baltimore, Phoenix, and Seattle model their fire and rescue departments after the District of Columbia Fire Department. You are incredibly lucky to have such dedicated people serving your neighborhood.

Anna said...

Please accept my most sincere apologies. I certainly would have crosschecked my sources had I thought my blog post concerning the Mt. Pleasant fire would have reached so many people. I am familiar with the youtube clip you mentioned; however, I do not know the person who posted it. My blog was referenced on this site without my knowledge.

Thank you for providing a more complete picture if the events that took place. I can only imagine how disheartening it would be to feel that proper respect and admiration was not given to such a brave and selfless effort. Again, please accept my apology for the improper information that was circulated. In the future I will be more careful with such statements.

Anna said...

Please note that I have adjusted the above post accordingly.