Columbia Heights residents want D.C. fire trucks to tone down siren noise

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Some Columbia Heights residents don't necessarily want D.C. firefighters to stop doing their jobs - they just want them to cut down on the sirens. They say emergency vehicles are blaring at them louder than ever before and at all hours of the day and night.

The group QuietDC hopes D.C. leaders hear them out and brainstorm a solution.

“There have been some precipitating incidents that have made the noise much more detrimental to their way of life,” says Patrick Flynn, Advisory Neighborhood commissioner.

Flynn says the number of people complaining about a spike in noise has tripled. Many of them are troubled with Monroe Street, which added extra parking spots on January 1.

“It takes a street that is already somewhat narrow and makes it even narrower, so when the fire engines are coming down here they have no place to go.”

Residents say the traffic jam forces first responders on their horns.

“It’s not only that we’re hearing noise but also either somebody is not going to get help fast enough or there’s going to be a major accident,” says Richard Dubeshter.

“For kids especially who are waking up in the middle of the night, crying and screaming, waking up from the noises, it’s something that worried me as a mother and I think other neighbors as well,” says Maryam Ahranjani.

But others say it comes with the territory and think D.C. leaders have bigger problems to solve.

“It’s absolutely insane. It’s ridiculous… you don’t like the noise? Don’t buy a house next to the fire station,” says Fernando Sandoval.

“The reason why it creates noises is because it’s to let people know that a fire engine is coming so it can save someone’s life,” says Sheika Reid, who works in Columbia Heights.

Reid has worked across the street from Engine 11 for 15 years.

“We have soundproof windows. We knew what we were moving into so we deal with that accordingly,” she says.

Concerned Columbia Heights neighbors are holding a meeting Thursday at 7 p.m. They’re gathering at the Trolley Turnaround Park at 11th and Monroe. Click here for more information.