Print Columns   |   Web Chats   |   Blog Archives   |  

Georgetown Library Fire Aftermath

The news out of the Georgetown library fire is that the damage is not quite as awful as was first feared. A fair portion of the historical documents have been shipped off for freezing and preservation.

Here, via Jerry McCoy, one of the great resources this region has for preserving and promoting the record of our past, are some photos showing the Peabody Room before and after the fire.

And here's the branch librarian's take on the fire.

And just in case anyone is thinking of suing the District for failing to maintain its fire hydrants properly, here's a West Coast firefighter's report on how his department used to prevent the sort of disaster we saw here last week, when D.C. firefighters discovered that the two hydrants closest to the Georgetown library were not functioning:

We used to test each hydrant annually. The testing was done by the on duty crews. The city and county were divided up by map page and it took several months to complete.

We would remove each of the hydrant caps, wire brush the threads, open up the hydrant to ensure that it worked, graphite the threading and then put the caps back on. This took approximately ten minutes per hydrant.

Today there is no annual hydrant testing done by the fire department. It was decided by the city that since the water department is out every day working on the water lines they were the appropriate city department to handle hydrants. We do go out and put blue markers in the street to help locate hydrants at night. In addition we clear any vegetation 3' around the hydrant.

When a hydrant is damaged or removed the water department lets us know and we update our map pages and "bag" the hydrants with garbage bags and duct tape.

Sound like DC needs to get a better system to monitor their water system!

By Marc Fisher |  May 7, 2007; 2:49 PM ET
Previous: Invulnerable: Pols and Seat Belts | Next: Eastern Market: All Fired Up


Please email us to report offensive comments.

What difference does it make? No one in DC knows how to read, so what do they even need a library for? Oh, forgot. They have videos.

Posted by: Thursday Next | May 7, 2007 3:33 PM

The ebonics section survived, right?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 7, 2007 3:36 PM

Shame on both of the first two posters. Grow up and stop acting like jerks.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 7, 2007 4:26 PM

Oh, go launder you sheets and give it a rest!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 7, 2007 4:27 PM

First two posters: Why don't you sign your name when making abhorent comments? Chicken?

Posted by: To the above | May 7, 2007 4:32 PM

shame, shame, shame....on the first two posters.

Posted by: dcbubble.blogspot | May 7, 2007 4:49 PM

The West Coast firefighter is right. The District Government has no concept of preventative maintenance. Fleet cars, fire hydrants, Metro escalators, and on and on. It is as if you bought a car and never changed the oil, then complained about the engine seizing.

Posted by: Karl | May 7, 2007 4:52 PM

"The District Government has no concept of preventative maintenance. Fleet cars, fire hydrants, Metro escalators, and on and on. It is as if you bought a car and never changed the oil, then complained about the engine seizing."

OK, I understand about the fleet cars. But fire hydrants are the responsibility of WASA and Metro escalators are WMATA, not the DC government (although both WASA and WMATA come in for their share of blame from time to time).

Maybe the problem is there are so many people and agencies with partial responsibility that nothing gets done. Like the story a few years ago about how a group had to negotiate with about 20 different agencies just to get those blue directional signs (trailblazers?) placed all over town.

Posted by: dirrtysw | May 7, 2007 5:15 PM

Fire Hydrant Markers
Highly visible 5 ft. reflective rod Find hydrants at night or in snow.

Hydrant Flushing Device
Any port size, one tool Safety, Labor savings, Versatile

Reflective Hydrant Marker
Find hydrants fast - all year long Buy Direct from mfg. - thats us!

Posted by: MEA CUlpa Plea From DC | May 7, 2007 7:59 PM

WHAT da Damn Hell Be A Goin Ohn Down Dare in Da G-TOwn 'Cept date whitey gals shakin da can at da 'Good Guys' Strip Bhar .its be ohn da Wisc.abenue..

Posted by: Mayor FOr Yo'Life | May 7, 2007 8:02 PM

OK, so DC doesn't properly test its hydrants and they suffer as a result. I find that somewhat interesting - I live in lower Montgomery County and my neighbor has a hydrant in front of his house. In the 27 years I've been here, I've never seen any indication that the hydrant has been checked in any fashion. I can only wonder what will happen if a fire hits a residence or business in my area.

Posted by: walter | May 7, 2007 11:02 PM

Why are racism and stereotypes funny?

Oh wait, they're not.

Posted by: lincoln park | May 8, 2007 5:09 AM

I don't have any idea of the costs involved, but maybe the fire department should be the folks testing the hydrants.

If the current system is broken, fix it. If that involves transfering $'s from the WASA budget to the DCFD then so be it.

There are lives at stake here. We were lucky this time because all we lost was a building. Next time it could be a school full of children.

Posted by: SoMD | May 8, 2007 11:06 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.


© 2010 The Washington Post Company