DC firefighters put out long-running fire at Benning Road Transfer Station

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect the fact that D.C. Fire and EMS extinguished a separate fire at a trash management facility on the 2100 block of Queens Chapel Road, while the fire at a trash transfer station on Benning Road was still smoldering as of Friday morning. 

D.C. firefighters are still working to extinguish the smoldering remains of a fire that broke out at a trash transfer station in Northeast on Thursday, even as a second fire at a trash management facility in Northeast was extinguished on Friday morning.

More than 100 firefighters battled the fire inside a five-story building located in the 3200 block of Benning Road NE, using large streams of water, including an aerial tower, according to officials.

D.C. Department of Public Works Interim Director Christine Davis said it’s possible the object most likely came in on fire as there was not anything in the facility that would have caused it to catch fire.

“All employees are confirmed accounted for. This will be extended operation,” DC Fire and EMS said in a tweet on Thursday.

Council member Mary Cheh, who has been vocal about past problems at the Benning Road transfer station, said while the investigation is ongoing, batteries have caused similar fires when mixed with trash or recycling. She is proposing an amendment to the District’s zero waste law focusing on battery companies to limit future fires.

“This highlights the importance of my new requirement in the Zero Waste Omnibus Act requiring battery companies to take back their products, just as we already require paint companies to take back theirs,” Cheh said. “It’s called producer responsibility requirements.”

For those who may be asthmatic, Assistant Fire Chief John Donnelly advised staying inside and keeping the windows closed. He said they are monitoring toxins, but “smoke is an annoyance to some people.”

On Friday at around 8 a.m., DC Fire and EMS tweeted that a seperate fire at a trash management facility in the 2100 block of Queens Chapel Road NE, had been put out and there were no reported injuries.

WTOP’s Thomas Robertson and Zeke Hartner contributed to this report.

Anna Gawel

Anna Gawel joined WTOP in 2020 and works in both the radio and digital departments. Anna Gawel has spent much of her career as the managing editor of The Washington Diplomat, which has been the flagship publication of D.C.’s diplomatic community for over 25 years.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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