RFK Stadium in Washington DC catches fire; emergency workers respond
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Emergency workers on Tuesday responded to fires inside RFK Stadium — the former, longtime home of Washington’s NFL team.
The District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department tweeted out a video of crews on the scene with smoke clearly emanating from one of the dugouts.
DC Fire indicated that there were “several fires in below grade levels in the stadium.” DC Fire later confirmed that all fires had been extinguished and that there were no injuries. The cause of the fires is under investigation.
Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium was a multi-purpose facility that opened in 1961, and was most prominently used for football, baseball and soccer. It was home to Washington’s NFL team from 1961-1996, two Major League Baseball teams (Washington Senators, 1962-1971; Washington Nationals, 2005-07) and Major League Soccer’s DC United (1996-2017), the facility’s final official tenant.
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RFK Stadium — originally called District of Columbia Stadium and renamed in Robert F. Kennedy’s honor in 1969 — also was host to five NFC championship games, two MLB All-Star Games, three MLS Cup games, as well as games for both the men’s (1994) and women’s (2003) World Cups.
Demolition of the stadium has been delayed multiple times, and Washington D.C. officials have been trying for several years to purchase the 190-acre property where the stadium sits from the National Park Service.
After D.C. United moved to Audi Field, the new soccer-specific stadium that opened in 2018, D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) introduced legislation that would have allowed the District to purchase the property at fair-market value, but her bill failed to advance in Congress.
“Our focus has been on making sure the district has control of RFK. It’s like 100 acre that right now is a building that is falling down surrounded by asphalt,” Washington DC Mayor Muriel E. Bowser said recently. “Regardless of what happens on that site, that’s for the people of Washington to decide.”