Fatal Dupont Circle fire deemed "not suspicious"

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- A fire at a Dupont Circle home that killed two people has been deemed "not suspicious", according a spokesperson for The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

A source tells WUSA9 that the Wednesday fire was "electronic in nature" and was on the "ground floor" of the $1.5 million Riggs Place home.

Smoke detectors were found inside the gutted house, but investigators could not determine if they were working at the time of the fire.

At about 2:30 a.m. June 3, firefighters responded to a fire on the 1600 block of Riggs Place NW for a two-alarm fire. The fire took about half an hour to get under control.

Two tenants who were renting rooms on the upper level of the home were killed. Nina Brekelmans, 25, had just graduated with a Masters Degree in Arabic Studies from Georgetown University. The Dartmouth alum from Louisville, KY had been awarded a Fullbright fellowship to continue her work in Jordan, according to a family statement.

Michael Patrick McLoughlin, 25 also died in the fire. He was a University of Maryland graduate from Leonardtown, Md. who was starting a career as a consultant and analyst on for government contractors.

The home's full-time resident Max Salas, 64, and his grandson were injured as they escaped from the blaze. Salas is a former DC Alcohol Beverage Control Board member with political ties to former Mayor Anthony Williams and former City Council Member Jim Graham. Three firefighters were also injured.

A basement level apartment in the home was also destroyed, but the tenant was not home at the time.

Officials with DC's Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs have refused to provide WUSA9 with information about the licensing and occupancy compliance status of the rental units in the home, citing the ongoing investigation.


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