Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Real fires

It is nearly impossible for me to believe that the South Hall of Eastern Market caught fire yesterday and was severely damaged. It is even more impossible to believe that there were two three-alarm fires at historic DC sites yesterday, and that neither of the sites, including a library that housed many rare and highly flammable artifacts, was equipped with even a basic sprinkler system. It's sad and it's awful and on an intellectual level I should feel worse about all the one-of-a-kind historical documents and works of art that were destroyed than about the shells of the buildings. But I have never had a building that I associate with destroyed by a fire before, and I had been to that Eastern Market building many times, in part because it housed the only public bathroom in the Eastern Market area that I have ever been able to find (and now what am I supposed to do?) and in part because it is fun to walk around all the cheese and flower and fish vendors that were housed in that hall. It sucks for all those tiny, not exactly well-to-do business owners whose property was destroyed, and it sucks for the building itself, which was a gorgeous historical landmark designed by Adolf Cluss and completed in 1873.

I really have trouble believing that it happened, so I leave you with two pictures that should prove what I have yet to accept.

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