Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Local Nightclub Severely Damaged by Fire

A fire raged in a Wisconsin Avenue nightclub early Tuesday morning, causing serious damage to both the club and a neighboring building, although no injuries or deaths were reported. ore than 120 firefighters responded to JP’s Night Club in response to the fire, which was brought under control in approximately two hours, D.C. fire department spokesperson Alan Etter said. Even within that short period, though, the fire had inflicted considerable structural damage to the building and the laundromat next door. Firefighters were able to rescue the nightclub’s owner, Michael Papanicolas, who had climbed on the roof to escape the flames. He was reportedly unharmed by the incident. Etter said that a gas leak may have fueled the fire, which reportedly broke out around 3:30 a.m. “Apparently, a gas line broke. But we don’t know if that’s what caused the fire or the fire started that,” he said. “The gas fueled the fire and, once the gas was turned off, the fire went out pretty quickly.” Both JP’s Nightclub and the Super Clean Laundromat were boarded and cordoned off for the investigation. At this point, property damages are unknown, Etter added. The nightclub closed approximately one and a half hours before the time of the fire. Etter said that a full investigation is underway to determine the cause of the fire, but due to the structural damage, an investigation team cannot currently enter the building for fear that it might collapse. He said the club owner must first hire a structural engineer to brace damaged building supports. James Mugabi, an employee at JP’s Nightclub, said the fire was a shock. “The night before, no one had expected it,” he said. “Then we came back in the morning to find the building gone.” arsha Keshani, manager of Max’s Best Ice Cream, located two stores away from the fire, said that she was concerned that the police did not alert neighboring store owners on Tuesday morning after the fire. “I found out about the fire when a friend from Maryland called and told me to watch the news,” Keshani said. “Had I known, I would have been on the scene at four in the morning. As a business owner, I expected more from the police department.” Etter said there was no time to make calls while fighting the fire. “The fire department’s main objective is to put the fire out,” said Etter. “In the clean-up process, notifications can be made.” Keshani said that the community has risen to support the affected store owners in the wake of the fire. “Yesterday, people stopped by, gave hugs, asked if I was okay and asked what they could do,” Keshani said. “I replied that they should just patron our stores.”

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