Fire crews called multiple alarms as a precaution, Winston said: Because of the building's size, firefighters weren't sure at first how much the fire might have spread, or how many people might need to be evacuated.
There was some work being done on the building, but Winston said it wasn't immediately clear if that work caused the fire. He estimated the fire caused about $20,000 in damage, mostly from smoke but also due to some pipes that melted in the heat.
Some residents went to a community room in the building while firefighters worked, while others waited in a heated Metro bus outside. Only the people in the unit where the fire started will have to stay elsewhere Saturday night, Winston said.