Building Collapse Sets Back Ebenezer Methodist Church Residential Project on D Street, SE
by Larry Janezich
DC Fire and Emergency Services responded to a reported building collapse in the 400 block of D Street, SE, yesterday afternoon. The building is part of a residential construction project of Ebenezer Methodist Church located on the block.
DCRA Inspections Division personnel also responded to the site and reported that DC Fire Captain Kemp was in command. DCRA said that according to Kemp, the structure began to give way while workers were doing excavation at the site. As it slowly collapsed, the workers scattered and ran. DCFD secured utilities and evacuated nearby residents. MPD brought in K-9 search dogs to help determine if there were workers trapped during the cave in, but none were found after a 20 minutes search. There were no fatalities and no injuries associated with the collapse.
According to DCRA, the project was issued a stop work order last fall because of safety concerns related to the water-filled excavation pit. The problem was apparently corrected permitting work to resume, but a photo from today showed the pit filled with water.
The adjacent town house at 416 D Street is also undergoing underpinning and excavation. The adjacent town house on the other side at 420 D Street is occupied and did not suffer damage. DCRA deemed the 416 and 418 unstable and stop work orders have been imposed.
The project has been contentious in the neighborhood since it was proposed more than three years ago. After a long review process and a battle over the architect’s plan for a mechanized car storage structure (ultimately denied by the Historic Preservation Review Board) the project got the go ahead from the city.