Fire at Four Seasons Disrupts Guests, Weddings

Georgetown's Four Seasons Hotel and its restaurant, Bourbon Steak, will be closed until further notice, the company says.

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Bride Kelly Kimball and groom Josh Raftis pose with Metropolitan Police officers. Photo by Robert Devaney.

UPDATED AUG. 17

A fire broke out in the ductwork of the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown just before 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 15, disrupting guests, two wedding receptions, one protest and nearby businesses as smoke spread into the neighborhood.

“Saturday evening a fire started in the Bourbon Steak kitchen. We are thankful for the quick intervention of the D.C. Fire Department,” wrote Four Seasons management on Feb. 16. “Bourbon Steak and the hotel will be closed until further notice, while we assess the extent of the damage.” No one was injured.

Jose Bera, one of the spa managers at the Four Seasons Hotel at 2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, was preparing the pool and spa for guests when the hotel’s emergency siren started to wail Aug. 15. “Attention! Attention! This is an emergency fire alert. Please evacuate the building! Do not take an elevator! Attention! Attention!”

Bera looked up through the large glass skylight windows two stories above the pool and gasped. “Smoke was covering the skylight and darkening the sky,” he said. “The thick smoke was coming from the roof top just behind the spa where the hotel’s Bourbon Steak restaurant was located,” Bera told this Georgetowner newspaper correspondent, who happened to be on the scene shortly after the fire broke out, apparently in a faulty air filtering system on the roof.

Hotel employees joined guests outside the hotel as D.C. Fire & EMS responded with trucks, equipment and firefighters. At the hotel entrance on Pennsylvania Avenue, firemen were climbing the fire truck’s ladder to examine the roof.

Metropolitan Police officers roped off the entrance with yellow tape and posed for photographs with one of the wedding parties. Bride Kelly Kimball and groom Josh Raftis arrived after exchanging vows at Georgetown University. The bride’s face covering matched the pattern of her gown. (A second wedding reception also was pushed out of the hotel.)

Meanwhile, Metro buses waited on M Street, then proceeded along residential streets. As residents looked over to the multitude of fire apparatus in front of the hotel, few paid attention to the 30 weekly protesters — this time, bicyclists dressed in black who filled M Street on their way to block Key Bridge. Police were actively rerouting traffic.

An Aug. 15 fire at the Four Seasons in Georgetown shut down the hotel and a few neighborhood streets. Georgetowner photo.
The D.C. Fire Department directed five fire companies to the Four Seasons on Aug. 15. Georgetowner photo.
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