WA, DC – Residents have been displaced after a small explosion and fire rocked their apartment building on Wednesday morning.
The incident happened at about 1:30 a.m. at an apartment building in the 4200 block of Dix Street in Northeast.
News4’s Tracee Wilkins reported that three residents of three separate units in the building were evacuated. No one was hurt.
Officials said they were called to the building for a report of a fire, but soon realized they were dealing with more.
“I was thinking that I hope they survived that, because the blast was so loud it sounded like a bomb,” said neighbor Almeta Smoot. “I just didn’t know. I was just so happy to see them come out of the building.”
Shattered glass and window frames were found on the sidewalk across the street. Personal items were caught in trees, Wilkins reported.
D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Alan Etter said it appears the explosion was triggered by natural gas.
Officials said they believe the blast happened in an empty first-floor apartment. Etter said the side of the building was bowed out significantly, and there was a crack and several missing bricks.
“Clearly, there was an explosion here of some force to cause all this damage,” Etter said.
Nearby cars were also damaged.
The fire department has ruled the building unsafe, and officials are monitoring the structure. Firefighters are not being permitted inside the building due to safety risks, Etter said.
Officials said the damage has created the possibility of a building collapse on the busy residential street.
Gas workers are checking nearby gas lines. Officials are not sure how or why the explosion happened, but they said they know natural gas played a role.
The incident remains under investigation.