Family Escapes Fire Through Second-Floor Window of SE DC Apartment Building

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A family escaped a burning apartment building in Southeast D.C. through a second-floor window Saturday morning.

The fire on 37th Place SE started around 6 a.m.

“As soon as I opened my front door, pure black smoke, no alarm went on, my only instinct was to get my kids and tell the neighbors to help me throw them, catch them," David Ramirez said.

The family also threw their dogs to safety.

Ramirez was the last to escape, with bushes below cushioning his fall.

Firefighters faced challenges getting some other residents out of the building. They had to get through steel burglar bars on ground floor windows.

One woman managed to get out herself because of the safety latch allowing her to open the burglar bars from inside. The fire department recommends all residents with burglar bars have such a latch so they can get out.


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Firefighters also had to work their hoses around a car parked in front of the nearest hydrant.

Residents said they're troubled that they did not hear any smoke detectors.

“I don't know if I want to come back here, because imagine if it happens again and but there's no alarm and I'm a heavy sleeper," Ramirez said.

The fire displaced six adults and eight children.

Two children were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Two dogs died in the fire.

The Red Cross is helping those displaced by the fire.

The cause is under investigation.

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