Fire at Phillips, art being moved
UPDATE: There was no major damage to the collection, according to museum spokeswoman Cecilia Wagner, and nobody was injured in the fire.
“All artwork is safe and secure," she said in a statement. "Museum conservators are currently evaluating the artwork, but nothing has incurred significant damage.”
The museum is closed until further notice.
ORIGINAL POST: The Phillips Collection, an art museum near Dupont Circle, has been evacuated and closed after a fire spread smoke through the building Thursday morning, authorities said.
Fire alarms went off at the building, located at 1600 21st Street NW, around 8:30 a.m. according to D.C. Fire Department spokesman Pete Piringer. A small fire broke out on the roof and in the ceiling of the top floor of the four-story building, Piringer said.
The cause is still under investigation, Piringer said, but the building is under renovation and investigators believe welding work may be the culprit.
Automatic sprinklers were set off on all four floors of the museum, Piringer said, containing the fire which was then extinguished by firefighters.
The building sustained moderate water damage on all four floors, Piringer said, with the top two sustaining moderate smoke damage.
Staff and firefighters moved artwork, according to Piringer, and the extent of any damage to the collection of French impressionist masterpieces and modern American work was not immediately known.
Power has been shut off to the building, and the museum and work site are closed pending a full investigation by building and fire inspectors. The Going Out Guide blog has information about the fire's effects on events at the museum.
The gallery was evacuated, he said. About 50 firefighters were at the gallery, he said. All have since left, apart from inspectors.
This item has been updated since it was first posted.
-- Mary Pat Flaherty and Paul Duggan
Mary Pat Flaherty
September 2, 2010; 1:20 PM ET
Categories: Fires & Fire Safety , Mary Pat Flaherty , Paul Duggan , The District
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