Although the Capitol has withstood plenty of attacks from foreign and domestic adversaries over the years, sometimes the most destructive forces can come from something as common as a gas leak... How did a series of accidents and events lead to one of the most devastating incidents in the Capitol's history? What priceless artifacts were lost forever, and who were the people risking their lives to prevent further destruction of the nation's history?
Eastern Market has been a place of social gathering in Capitol Hill since its construction in 1873. Despite many efforts to shutter the market and a devastating fire in 2007, the market endures as a Southeast institution.
The call came in to the Arlington County Fire Department at 11:16am on July 2, 1959… The Pentagon was on fire.
ACFD units raced to the scene, soon to be joined by deployments from 34 other jurisdictions including Falls Church, Alexandria, Fort Myer, the District, Prince Georges County, Bethesda and the Inter-Agency Government Pool — over 300 firefighters in all.
When trucks reached the scene, black smoke hung over the building, so thick that they had to form a human chain in order to navigate. Firemen groped, clawed and cut their way to the blaze, which had erupted in the Air Force statistical services offices between rings C and D and corridors 1 and 10.