Two-Alarm Fire Severely Damages Old D.C. School

Building deemed structurally unsound

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012  |  Updated 10:04 PM EDT
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The old Webb Elementary School building has been deemed structurally unsound.

Melissa Mollet

The old Webb Elementary School building has been deemed structurally unsound.

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Investigators are looking into what caused a two-alarm fire at an old D.C. school building.

Crews responded to the old Webb Elementary School building along Mount Olivet Road NE late Monday night. It took firefighters longer than usual to control the blaze because they had to knock down the doors, which were welded shut.

The fire did so much damage to one side of the building that crews have deemed the building structurally unsound.

“The building is unstable,” said Battalion Fire Chief Brian Lee. “We’re not going to be sending fire investigators inside the building until we get DCRA [Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs] to help shore it up until it it’s structurally sound. Then we’re going to do a grid inspection until we can make a determination.”

Witnesses say they saw people go inside the building about 30 minutes before the fire started.

Sean Rocker-Patterson lives in the area, and says he’s not surprised that people were spotted around the school. “I’ve seen kids playing inside and playing on the roof a lot; it’s kind of like a jungle gym to them.” 

No one was hurt.

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