Horrific Fire Guts Eastern Market

Eastern Market Fire - Washington Post Photo The weekend, for so many people in DC, means Eastern Market. The produce and arts booths that fill the indoor/outdoor market, the lunch counter, the market stalls and the non-existant parking, these are the things that draw the crowds to the 134-year old historic hub of DC’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Built in the Reconstruction era, it’s beautiful South Hall, which houses butchers and cheese shops, produce and more, is an iconic landmark for Capitol Hill.

Mayor Fenty has pledged to rebuild the site, saying, “We’ll bring it back 100 percent. How could we not? It’s too much history to let it get burned away.” It took 160 firefighters to douse the blaze that started around 1am this morning. The fire seems to have begun in the dumpsters behind the building, then spread inside. At this time, it’s not known whether or not this is an accidental fire or an arson, but I have a feeling this is the number one priority for the police and fire departments today.

Market events will be cancelled for weeks to come as the investigations continue and the repairs ensue. This City is a poorer place for its absence. One of my first dates in this town was lunch at the lunch counter there. Mona told me that it was the only place she trusted to get her a good pastrami sandwich. She was right, it was incredible. And now it’s an empty burned hull.

Photo Credit: Nikki Kahn – The Washington Post Photo

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