Thursday, March 27, 2008

Support, Answers Still Needed After Fire

Two weeks after a fire destroyed one Mount Pleasant apartment building and nearly destroyed an adjacent church, the fallout is still very much evident on the ground. Mount Pleasant Street has been closed north of Irving since the fire. The businesses on the main street seem to be doing ok, but getting into, out of and through the neighborhood has been a challenge.

You wouldn't know from the WMATA website, but there is clearly a detour for the 42 bus route regarding Mount Pleasant Street. Northbound buses end their routes at Irving Street. Southbound buses begin their routes at either Irving (turning right onto Irving, then right on 16th) or at Argonne Place next to Rat Park. Here's where it gets tricky. Most buses leaving from Irving won't circle around Rat Park; you'll have to cross the street from the Rat Park bus shelter to get onto the bus, which will pick up on southbound 16th Street. Afterwards it makes a right onto Columbia Road and continues the normal route. Some buses will (correctly) start at Argonne Place, make a right onto Harvard, and then a right again, stopping directly in front of the Rat Park bus shelter. Either way, your best bet to catch the southbound 42 is to wait at the shelter in Rat Park. Buses seem to run in bunches in this configuration, so you'll see 3 or 4 starting/ending their route at once.

Donations are still needed and accepted. Neighbors Consejo, the Mount Pleasant non profit, has collected all the clothes it can at this point. Monetary donations are best, because it can be used for a variety of resident needs. Donate online easily at the organization's website. Or in person; 3118 16th Street NW.

The local press has covered various aspects of the story since the fire. Here are a few recent articles:

Authorities know more about where the fire started in the 3145 Mt Pleasant St building, but have yet to settle on a firm cause. They have not completely ruled out arson, but appear to have ruled it out as the most likely reason. There are still questions about the effects of the physical conditions and general upkeep of the building and what role, if any, they played in the fire. Officials have not said if the fire was just an accident, circumstantial or intentional. Hopefully the picture will become clearer soon and with a new season, the residents of 3145 and parishioners of Meridian Hill Baptist can move towards some form of regularity. My best to them all.