Arson Eyed in 16th Street's Deadly Fire - NBC4 Washington

Arson Eyed in 16th Street's Deadly Fire

Fire Chief: At this point, Investigation Is Ongoing



    D.C. Fire officials are looking into the possibility arson caused this week's deadly apartment fire. (Published Friday, Oct. 1, 2010)

    Fire investigators in the District are trying to determine whether arson may have caused a deadly fire on 16th Street.

    The fire broke out early Wednesday morning at the Sarbin Towers apartment building. Firefighters who responded to the scene gave their accounts to the media Friday. One described the residents as being in a “state of panic.”

    "The first apartment that I went into, the gentleman had taken the co-ax cable from his TV and tied it to the refrigerator door handle," said Brian Phillips with Rescue Squad 2. "And he was sitting on his window ledge grasping it in both hands, as if that was his last-ditch effort to go out the window on this coax cable."

    Phillips said he was able to talk the man out of going out the window and walked him to safety.

    D.C. Fire Chief Dennis Rubin said investigators are still working to determine a cause.

    "We have begun to eliminate every single accidental cause and that’s going to lead us to one area... Speculation would say most likely it’s going to be some type of set fire," he said.

    Investigators are considering that a mattress found in the fifth floor hallway may have been the source of the fire. They say it may have also been placed to purposely block the hallway.

    Rubin said investigators are questioning several persons of interest.