UPDATED: The blaze has been upgraded from a two-alarm to a four-alarm fire.
DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services (DC FEMS) was on the scene of a two-alarm fire at Arthur Capper Senior Public Housing (900 Fifth St. SE). Calls reporting the fire were received at about 3:20 p.m.
The 162-unit housing complex was completed in 2007 and is composed of both one and two bedroom units exclusively for seniors.
“It is 100% affordable and privately managed by Edgewood management company,” said the DC Housing Authority on Twitter. “It was the first building completed as part of the Capper/Carrollsburg HOPE VI.” HOPE VI was a grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
DC FEMS reported that there was heavy fire on the top floor and attic unit of the five-floor building. Fire personnel evacuated occupants from the building. The fire has impacted the fourth and five floors and the roof of the building.
Around 5 p.m., Councilmember Charles Allen said that it appeared all residents appeared to be accounted for.
— DC Fire and EMS (@dcfireems) September 19, 2018
The Office of Councilmember Charles Allen was on the phone with residents as DC FEMS arrived on scene, and the Councilmember was headed to the complex as the fire progressed, according to Twitter.
Allen indicated that residents were safe, partly due to the assistance provided by their neighbors:
Building severely damaged. But initial count has every resident accounted for. Big thanks to @dcfireems & @IAFF36 for many daring rescues. And thanks to quick work of neighbors to jump in, help, & pull folks out. I think they saved lives. #Ward6 pic.twitter.com/ZS4C9fPuhg
— Charles Allen (@charlesallen) September 19, 2018
US Marines were also reported to have flooded to the scene to help firefighters with rescue operations.
The DC Housing Authority said that the community building at 1000 Fifth St. SE is open for residents impacted by the fire.
Social media reports indicated that the fire was visible as far away as the National Building Museum.
DC FEMS reports that the following streets are closed due to fire activity: Fifth Street SE form Virginia Avenue to K Street SE and the intersections of Fourth and K Streets SE, Fifth and K Streets SE, and Fifth and L Streets SE.
This story is updating.