Did you hear the sirens and see the emergency vehicles Tuesday night? The sirens started blaring shortly after 7 p.m. and continued on and off for about an hour. When I ventured out around 8:30, I saw two fire trucks at the corner of 30th and Brandywine. Further down Brandywine toward Connecticut I saw more fire trucks and emergency vehicles, so I walked to 31st Street and looked north toward Gates Road. There, I saw smoke coming from the house at the top of the street.
Gary Stevens, who lives across the street from 3017 Gates Road, emailed this report and these photos:
I was there as the first three fire trucks came. I counted 17 fire trucks and emergency response vehicles altogether. I told the firemen I was impressed and hoped that they would respond to my smoke alarm the same way. They said, “Of course.”
I was out watching for some time. No flames evident, but much smoke…. We offered water, cokes etc. [to the fire fighters] but they gratefully declined. Many windows broken by firemen to let smoke escape.
No one hurt inside house… I spoke briefly with [owner Ron Ginsburg]. It appeared to be an electrical fire within the walls of the house (based on the few snippets I heard).
Rebecca Stevens adds:
At least two fireman were overcome with smoke, and I think that is why the ambulances were there. The firemen were given oxygen and seemed okay.
DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services spokesman Timothy Wilson responded to my questions:
An alarm is determined by the number of resources required to knock down a fire; resources include engines, ladder trucks, ambulances and support vehicles. For this particular incident, a second alarm was sounded because additional resources were required to put the fire out. More than 30 units were assigned to this incident.
The fire damage was extensive throughout the home. When water is used to suppress a fire, there could be some water damage as well.