Owner of Blues Alley speaks out after fire at club

After a fire at Blues Alley in Georgetown shut the jazz club down temporarily on Tuesday, the owner of the famed venue is giving an update.

“The majority of the firefighting work was to contain any type of fire that might spread to alternative properties,” said Harry Schnipper, executive director and owner of Blues Alley Jazz Club in Georgetown

The fire broke out on the second story of the club in Georgetown shortly before 6:30 p.m., Jennifer Donelan of D.C. Fire and EMS said. Firefighters found the fire between the ceiling and the roof.

He said the fire was not as serious as original reports suggested.

“I was actually inside the building and there was no smoke. Someone from outside the building had to come in and say we think there’s smoke coming out of your building. And it wasn’t until the firemen arrived, that people actually took it seriously enough to evacuate,” Schnipper said.

Fire officials said it caused $50,000 in damage.

“We had smoke and they called a three-alarm fire. There were 10 firetrucks, hooks and ladders within 10 minutes of the reported smoke,” he said.

Schnipper said most of the damage is from the hoses.

“The water damaged my grand piano and my mixing console and my amplifiers,” he said. “We’re remediating all of the water damage and trying to circumvent any mildew or mold.”

They will know better after Friday when they can reopen, but he said “soon.”

He said support from around the world has been incredible.

“We have received cards and letters from as far west as Los Angeles, and as far east as the Czech Republic,” Schnipper said.

WTOP’s Michelle Murillo contributed to this report.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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