WASHINGTON — Four people died in a fire the Metropolitan Police Department is calling “very suspicious” at a Northwest D.C. house.
The fire happened at about 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the 3200 block of Woodland Drive in Northwest D.C. Four people — three adults and one child — were found dead on the second floor of the house when fire crews arrived, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier said in a news conference Thursday evening.
“There were no signs obvious signs of forced entry, although the nature and origin of the fire is very suspicious,” Lanier said, adding that the blaze and deaths are being investigated by a joint arson task force.
Neighbor Joe Carregal said he was walking his dog when he smelled smoke and went to check out what was happening down the block from where he lives.”It was all smoke and then boom, it went to fire, coming from the second floor,” he said. A man started knocking on the door but no one answered, Carregal said. Firefighters arrived shortly after and had to break down the door. They used two ladder trucks to get to the roof.
Within about 25 minutes, “we saw three people come out on stretchers,” Carregal said, adding that medics were performing CPR.
Authorities have not released information about the identities of the people who died, nor have they said whether they were related.
Nelly Gutierrez, who worked as a housekeeper, at the house, says she got a text message from a woman who lived in the house at about 10 a.m., telling her not to come to work Thursday. She says the woman didn’t give her a reason. “It saved my life,” Gutierrez says.
She adds that another housekeeper, who was like a big sister to her, had worked in the house for four years. Gutierrez fears that her friend died in the fire. “I can’t believe it,” she says. “I’m still in shock.”
Police are asking for the public’s help with information surrounding a blue 2008 Porsche 911 with D.C. tags DK 2418 that was last seen at the home around 10:30 a.m., Lanier says.
The car has been found, but police want the whereabouts of the vehicle between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Thursday as it could help in the investigation. Anyone with information can call 202-727-9099.
A team of officers is going through the neighborhood to ask people for any information and let people know what is happening, Lanier says.
A spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said the agency is assisting in investigating the cause and origin of the fire.
Below is a map of the location near the incident:
The Associated Press contributed to this report.