Transformer Fire Forces Evacuations Near White House | NBC4 Washington

Transformer Fire Forces Evacuations Near White House

Fire put out, no major damage to local hotels



    A potentially dangerous situation in downtown Washington Saturday night knocked out power and forced evacuations just around the corner from the White House. (Published Sunday, Aug. 15, 2010)

    Flames were shooting 20 to 50 feet in the air as an underground fire burned near the White House Saturday night.

    District firefighters were on the scene at 7:45 battling an underground PEPCO transformer fire on the 1400 block of F Street NW.

    "We heard a series of probably five or six loud explosions that you could feel," said witness Chris Robertson.

    Nearby hotels like the W Hotel and Willard Intercontinental Hotel had to be evacuated as firefighters battled the flames. Authorities had to go room to room to make sure everyone was out. Neither hotel was damaged.

    No injuries were reported.

    The fire was put out around 9 p.m. and power was restored to the area around 10 p.m., D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services spokesman Pete Piringer said.

    An electrical fire that burned secondary cables within the transformer caused the larger fire to break out. The fire started at about 8 p.m. Saturday night.