Fire intentionally set at DC General displaces families

WASHINGTON — Two dozen families who call D.C. General home are still in motels and staying with friends across the city after someone set a fire in the homeless shelter Saturday night.

“We’re working hard to get folks out of D.C. General,” said Chris Geldart, the District’s director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

The mayor’s goal is to get the 250 families living in D.C. General in Southeast D.C. out to other community shelters — but this is not the way to do it, according to Geldart, who called the shelter “not the best of facilities.”

He added, “That night, we did have an arson unit in and they did determine the cause of the fire was arson, which means there was nothing up there that could have spontaneously caused the fire. It had to be set.”

Investigators don’t yet know who set the fire Saturday night that is still displacing 24 families as the thorough cleaning continues.

“Because it’s an older building, we wanted to make sure we did a good cleaning in there for any other materials that may have burned,” he said.

It’s a 72-hour process and families will be able to return Wednesday afternoon.

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