Firefighters said clutter inside a Southeast D.C. home complicated efforts to knock down a blaze which led to the death of a woman, trapped in a bedroom early Tuesday morning.
D.C. Fire and EMS were dispatched to a two-story home at 627 Darrington Street SE in Bellevue, near the D.C.-Maryland state line, at 5:18 a.m. First responders arrived to find smoke billowing out from a second floor bedroom, where a resident had been reported trapped.
After struggling to reach the bedroom due to what fire department spokesman Vito Maggiolo described as “cluttered conditions” inside the home, the women trapped there was found dead. Her name had not been made public as of Tuesday morning.
“A sad morning in D.C.,” the District’s firefighters association, IAFF Local 36, later tweeted. “We extend our condolences to the family and friends of the victim of this morning’s fire.”
BREAKING: Woman killed in early morning house Fire on Darrington St SE, 2 men escaped after hearing smoke detectors. Officials say cluttered conditions hindered their efforts to fight the blaze and may have contributed to fire @WTOP pic.twitter.com/gnpY5oINpS
— Melissa Howell (@Mhowell003) February 11, 2020
The capital region Red Cross was requested to assist two other people who escaped to safety. One said they were awoken by a functioning smoke detector, which Maggiolo credited with preventing further loss of life.
“If he had not been awakened by the smoke detector, his outcome could have been serious injury or death, Maggiolo said. “Smoke detectors are the key to survival, especially in the overnight to early morning hours when people are asleep.”
DC fire officials reminded District residents to regularly check that their smoke detectors are working properly.
Investigators remained on scene Tuesday morning to determine the cause of the fire.
The 600 block of Darrington Street in Southeast is closed due to the investigation. The WTOP Traffic Center advises commuters on 6th Street SE proceed with caution due to the ongoing fire department activity.
WTOP’s Melissa Howell reported from Darrington Street in Southeast D.C.