A man injured in an apartment fire in Southeast D.C. may have been trying to heat his home with a stove when the fire started, neighbors say.
The fire started in the kitchen of an apartment on the 4200 block of 6th Street SE just before 3 a.m. Thursday. Fire officials say the fire started at a stove.
A man inside the apartment was rescued through a window. He was taken to the hospital with injuries that are serious but not life-threatening.
Neighbors say there have been heating issues at the apartment building.
"I haven't had heat in three years. I've been there for three years now," one woman said.
#DCsBravest investigators have determined 6th St SE fire cause was accidental, originating at stove. We now have 9 adults & 10 children displaced. HSEMA and @RedCrossNCR providing assistance. Firefighters dealing with icing conditions. pic.twitter.com/KBqdRTgcaj— DC Fire and EMS (@dcfireems) January 18, 2018
Residents say the property management has given them space heaters, but on really cold nights, Rufus Houser says he has used his stove to warm his apartment.
"I do what everybody else do. I turn the stove on and the burners, and I let the heat from that warm up the apartment the best it could," Houser said.
Some neighbors wonder whether the man who was injured in Thursday's fire was doing the same.
"Night's like last night when it was freezing, you have to do something. You can't expect people to sit in an apartment that's below zero and not take drastic measures," Houser said.
Fire investigators haven't been able to talk to the victim, so it's unclear whether he was cooking or using the stove as a heat source.
One family who didn't want to go on camera allowed News4 into their apartment, where they were boiling a pot of water on the stove for warmth.
Someone with the management company told News4 the complex has radiator heat and that it's working.
Nine adults and 10 children were displaced by the fire.
Fire officials say the fire was accidental in nature and started at a stove.