‘Incensed’: DC resident sets fire trying to scare away ‘small mammal’

Firefighters from D.C. Fire and EMS respond to a fire at 1300 Congress St. SE on Dec. 11, 2019.
Firefighters from D.C. Fire and EMS respond to a fire at 1300 Congress St. SE on Dec. 11, 2019.
Firefighters from D.C. Fire and EMS respond to a fire at 1300 Congress St. SE on Dec. 11, 2019.
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A D.C. resident may have inadvertently set their own apartment on fire in an attempt to scare away what is believed to be a squirrel with a lit stick of incense.

Around noon on Wednesday, a resident of a three-story apartment building in the 1300 block of Congress St. SE tried to drive off a small mammal with a lit stick of incense — scent unknown. The critter knocked the burning tip of the stick off, setting fire to the attic of the apartment, according to D.C. Fire and EMS.

To make matters worse, the resident’s smoke alarm had been disabled because it kept going off while they were cooking.

Firefighters quickly got the fire under control and no injuries were reported in the incident, though some residents of the building were displaced.

D.C. Fire and EMS said never to disable a smoke alarm under any circumstances.

No word on what happened to the offending mammal, so if anybody spots a squirrel that smells a bit like lavender and smoke, it may be best to leave it alone.

Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

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