The first fire started on the 4400 block of Wisconsin Avenue NW around 6:30 p.m. on November 20. (Julia Mouketo/ҹֱ)

Tenleytown arson suspect arrested

D.C. authorities have arrested a suspect in connection with a series of dumpster fires in the Tenleytown area, spreading into Georgetown. The fire caused significant damage to properties, including businesses like Solar Nail and Waxing.

The DC Metropolitan Police Department arrested a suspect in a series of dumpster fires that occurred primarily in D.C.’s Tenleytown neighborhood, with incidents spreading to Georgetown. 

The first fire started on the 4400 block of Wisconsin Avenue NW around 6:30 p.m. on November 20. Subsequently, more were reported on 40th Street, Yuma Street, and Veazey Street. 

More fires were reported on Thanksgiving in the 4500 and 4800 blocks of Wisconsin Avenue NW. Arson investigators are examining at least nine fires. 

This year, 10 cases of Arson were reported by Metro PD — a from 2022. 

In Tenleytown, the fires have impacted two local businesses, including the Solar Nail and Waxing Salon. Videos of an individual wearing a hooded sweatshirt and a leather jacket, throwing a lit match in a trashcan appeared on a local TV channel.

The trash was at the back of the Havana Smoke Shop, located under the Solar Nail and Waxing Salon on the 4400 block of Wisconsin Avenue.

ҹֱ reached out to Kathy Dang, the owner of Solar Nail and Waxing Salon, and she described the onset of the fire.

“Someone put the light in the trash can,” Dang said.

Solar Nail and Waxing was open and serving a customer when the fire started. According to Dang, the fire started at a dumpster and quickly spread to her establishment, but no one was injured. The salon anticipates a closure of 4 to 5 months for repairs.

ҹֱ also contacted Vito Maggiolo, Public Information Officer for DC Fire & EMS. He provided insights into the department’s response. 

“We received a call originally for a reported dumpster fire. When we arrived, we found that the fire had extended from the dumpster to the rear of the structure, involving the 1st and 2nd floors.”

Burnt trash cans behind the Havana Smoke Shop. (Julia Mouketo/ҹֱ)
(Julia Mouketo/ҹֱ)

Maggiolo confirmed that no injuries were reported from these incidents and that the suspect had been arrested. 

Regarding the suspect’s identity, Lieutenant Murphy McAuley, a DC Metropolitan Police Manager for the Tenleytown area, clarified the department’s stance on revealing suspect identities. 

“Unfortunately, I cannot disclose any suspect identity that is not within our policy,” McAuley said.

McAuley also noted that MPD dealt with similar cases earlier this year.

“MPD made an arrest in reference to multiple malicious burning buildings back in February 2023. But that case prosecution was denied. Not the same suspect,” McAuley said.

ҹֱ reached out to the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Corrections but did not get answers on the suspect’s identity. MPD said an Arson Investigator is in the process of working on the case.

Julia Mouketo

Julia is a reporter for ҹֱ covering the Tenleytown and Friendship Heights area. She is a graduate student at American University. Prior to ҹֱ, she worked for The Roanoke Times and Cardinal News.

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