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Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 12/28/2010

District resident blames fire on Pepco

By Elizabeth Flock
Elizabeth Flock

A house in the District caught fire Monday, and the homeowners believe Pepco is at fault, NBC reported Tuesday.

Homeowner Lou Constantino says downed power lines sparked the fire, and that Pepco could have prevented the blaze by responding to his call more quickly.

Costantino says he was playing with his children in his home in Northwest around 10 a.m. Monday when the power went out. The family called Pepco to report the outage and was told that someone would be out by 2 p.m.

After finding downed wires, Costantino says he called Pepco again. Pepco again told them they would be at the house by 2 p.m.

Costantino says he checked on the wires again, and saw they had caught on fire. He called the fire department and firefighters extinguished the fire.

At 2 p.m., Pepco crews came and shut off power to the wires.

"The wires were burning, 11, 12, 1, 2 [o’clock] ya know. And Pepco, it took them that long to get here,” Costantino told NBC.

Pepco released a statement to News4: “D.C. Fire/EMS is currently investigating the cause of the fire. Pepco is also investigating the incident. We will be able to provide more details once the investigation is complete.”

Pepco delivers power to 778,000 customers in the District and neighboring parts of Maryland. Pepco's reliability with residents has declined over the last five years; the average Pepco customer experienced 70 percent more outages than customers of other big city utilities that took part in one 2009 survey.

By Elizabeth Flock  | December 28, 2010; 10:45 AM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety, DC, Elizabeth Flock  
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