Fire forces dozens from Northwest apartment building

MPD, fire officials, the Drug Enforcement Administration and even the FBI rushed to the scene of a small explosion early Wednesday morning in an apartment building in the 1600 block of R Street NW.

Up in a fourth floor apartment, law enforcement sources say, it appears there was some sort of make-shift lab
and something went wrong that produced a chemical explosion.

Jay Blanco lives just down the hall.

“We go out in the hallway and we smell a solvent and to me it smelled like kerosene and we see smoke in the hallway,” Blanco says.

Police and fire evacuated the building. When Josh Goldman got outside, he looked up.

“There were flames very noticeable flames coming from the apartment window,” Goldman says. “We couldn't believe what we were seeing.”

MPD and federal drug agents worked in the apartment through the morning and into the early afternoon. They came out with boxes of evidence including a bag of fertilizer.

A lot of people in this upscale NW apartment building were shocked at the revelations.

Bryan Adams also lives just down the hall from where the explosion occurred. He had to spend the night in a hotel after the fire department evacuated the building.

“It just surprises me that something like this would happen in a nice neighborhood in Dupont Circle and a nice building like here,” Adams says. “And you know you never really get to know your neighbors.”