Kirkbride Buildings Blog

July 14th, 2010

Fire at Saint Elizabeths

Saint Elizabeths Kirkbride Building
Lightning is the suspected source of a fire causing “substantial damage” to the Saint Elizabeths Kirkbride building in Washington DC. You can read about it here: Fire Breaks Out at St. E’s. Another source confirms it: Old SE D.C. Hospital Complex Catches Fire.

I don’t know much about this yet, but I’ll post more information as I find it. If anyone has anything to share about this please comment. Even if a lot of damage was done, I think there’s a good chance the government will restore the building since it’s going to be part of the new DHS headquarters. Let’s hope so anyway.

Update: There are photos and some video about this available here: Firefighters Respond to Two Alarm Fire at Saint Elizabeths Hospital. The photos show a pretty limited fire on the roof of the admin tower. Judging from those I’d say the fire wasn’t too bad and was probably contained and controlled by the firefighters before too much damage could be done. We’ll have to wait till more information comes in to be sure.

Here’s a message from the General Services Administration: “As has been widely reported, the cause of the fire is thought to be lightning. The fire was contained to the roof and level 5 directly below the roof which was approximately 24 feet by 25 feet, with minimal subsequent water damage. Emergency response was swift and effective. The building has been assessed for emergency stabilization and repairs, and weatherization measures have begun. This incident will not impact the ongoing design development for the rehabilitation and reuse of the Center Building.”

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Discussion

  1. Karen Kasulke July 14, 2010, 12:52 am

    NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! Say it ain’t so!!!!!!!!!

  2. Ethan July 14, 2010, 12:56 am

    I wish I could, but it’s all too true sadly.

    I wonder how many times I’ve written the words “sadly” and “unfortunately” on this blog. It’s a lot I’m sure.

  3. Squad546 July 14, 2010, 1:00 am

    Just saw the news on Facebook. As I stated there, according to the WUSA interview with the fire dept. spokesman, sounded like they held it to the “tower area”, if I had to guess it wasn’t as bad as it might’ve been since they seemed to get it under control fairly quickly. They probably spent more time with overhaul then actually fighting the fire. Although the “8-story” part had me confused. Anyway, check Statter911’s blog in the morning, he will likely have something on it.

    http://tinyurl.com/23brnhf

  4. Ethan July 14, 2010, 1:06 am

    Yeah, it sounds like it wasn’t TOO bad, but any fire at all is still disheartening.

  5. Phil July 14, 2010, 7:31 am

    This really sucks, seems like one thing after another keeps happening. There is no excuse for this though, why were there not functioning lightning rods on the building??? Hopefully it was isolated to the admin roof.

  6. Ted July 14, 2010, 10:33 pm

    Here’s a statement from the General Services Administration (GSA):

    As has been widely reported, the cause of the fire is thought to be lightning. The fire was contained to the roof and level 5 directly below the roof which was approximately 24 feet by 25 feet, with minimal subsequent water damage. Emergency response was swift and effective. The building has been assessed for emergency stabilization and repairs, and weatherization measures have begun. This incident will not impact the ongoing design development for the rehabilitation and reuse of the Center Building.

  7. Ethan July 14, 2010, 11:30 pm

    Thanks for the update. Sounds like the fire damage isn’t going to be a major problem which is great (of course).

  8. Squad546 July 17, 2010, 1:10 am

    I got an update via email from a DCFD guy. The damage did what lightning strikes usually do, they hit the highest point then follow a path. Most of the damage was in the tower, none to the wings. They had to pull lots of roofing on the exterior and a lot of interior overhaul. No structural damage, fortunately it was called in right after it was struck by lightning & they caught it early!

  9. WSH July 19, 2010, 2:42 pm

    I guess we’re all lucky they were doing work on the building. A lightning strike like this on your average vacant Kirkbride probably would have gone unreported and caused major damage.

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