A space heater in the garage area is likely the cause of that severely damaged the at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Q Street, according to D.C. Fire and EMS Spokesman Pete Piringer.
Piringer said flammable fumes from the auto repair shop likely came into contact with the space heater, leading to the blaze. The fire had a rapid development, burning several cars and debris next to the station. The Department of Consumer and Regulartory Affairs has been requested to evaulate the damage.
Three employees were evaluated by EMS for exposure to smoke and fumes, though none was transported, contrary to initial reports.
The fire also spread to the kitchen of the neighboring restaurant, Health inspectors have been called to evaluate damage at the restaurant, which is closed for the time being.
Piringer when cars are involved in a fire, “explosions are a concern…it’s not unusual to have an explosion.” Piringer could not officially determine if there was an explosion, though he said, “somebody did report hearing an explosion.”
Due to concerns over the potential for an explosion, the Foam Unit from the Naval District of Washington was called to the scene, though it was not ultimately used.
Piringer said there were no reported problems wit fire hydrants in the area, a valid concern after the Neighborhood Library fire in April 2007.
Personnel have set up a collapse zone around the garage and minimart.
There is no official damage estimate, but Piringer said it would certainly be hundreds of thousands of dollars.