Apartment fire in Southeast D.C. sends six to hospital

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Investigators are looking for the cause of an apartment fire in southeast Washington.

The fire started around 12:30 a.m. Thursday morning in the 2800 block of Denver Street. Authorities say some residents were trapped and were hanging out of second floor windows when firefighters arrived.

"I've seen smoke coming out from up there and people hollering and screaming," said Tracy Philpot, a neighbor.

Philpot had to wash away a trail of blood on her fence and sidewalk. Police say the blood was likely from a victim who fell from a second floor window while the building was engulfed.

Six people were sent to the hospital, including two children. The kids are 12 and 13 years old. The victims all suffered from burns, cuts and smoke inhalation. One of the victims is 16-year-old Alphonzo Dickens, an Anacostia High School football player.

All of the victims were released from local hospitals.

About six apartments have been destroyed and about a dozen people have been displaced.

Residents are wondering if this fire has been ruled suspicious. The building has been deliberately set on fire in the past. Fire investigators aren't ruling anything out as they search for a cause.

"This time its worse because there were lives involved," said Philpot. "Lives could have been taken."

Smoke alarms were working at the time of the fire. The assistant fire chief says the families who were able to rush upstairs and find a safe haven are very fortunate. Even though the building is up to city code, there is only one way out - the front door.