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House Burns While Man Makes a Food Run

February 8, 2006

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A man who went out for a few minutes to buy food came back to find his Northwest Washington house ablaze Wednesday. ``A lady in the next block said, ‘Is that your house?’ I said, ‘I hope not.’ Up to that point I wasn’t even sure,″ said Joe Howard.

The fire was so intense, and the building so unstable, that firefighters had to evacuate and resorted to battling the flames from outside. District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department spokesman Alan Etter said sections of the home were falling apart. Neither Howard nor any firefighters were hurt.

The cause of the fire was not known, and it was unclear if it would ever be found.

``Fire investigators will go in after it’s determined safe to go in. And it may be that they never go in to investigate. We’ve had situations like this before where the building is so unsafe that we’re not going to put a fire investigator in there to get hurt,″ Etter said.

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