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Caught on video: Building collapse in DC – Walls came in on strip club

Photos of the collapse from The Washington Post’s Bill O’Leary

Robert Lyles & Kris Van Cleave, WJLA-TV:

First responders were on the scene of a partial building collapse in Northwest D.C. on Friday afternoon. The collapse reportedly occurred at an adult entertainment business called The Cloakroom, located in the 400 block of K St. at 5th St. NW.

“The fire truck was coming…and some other people were trying to run,” said Derone Gardner.

The people he is describing were employees of the gentleman’s club.

DC 5th & K building collapse 1 5-2-14

“It was definitely three, what looked to be, chefs or cooks — and two other employees,” said witness Joe Terpstra.

“They jumped from that ledge…they jumped the ledge,” added Victoria Sang.

The two-story unoccupied brick building next door was imploding. And while the structural collapse continued, the dancers inside had no idea that the roof and all two floors had collapsed – leaving only the walls.

Soon, however, everybody was enveloped in smoke.

Fire alarms quickly sounded, and as many as 25 employees and patrons ran out – just in the nick of time. Two buildings managed to collapse in less than 30 minutes.

DC 5th & K building collapse 2 5-2-14

“All of a sudden, you saw all the bricks go down..this big dust cloud puff into the sky,” described John Wachter.

Stunned witnesses watched as rescue crews raced one person to the hospital and search dogs combed through the rubble, fortunately finding nothing.

Investigators have yet to find out the cause of this collapse, but they will say this:

“One of the proprietors of the building was expanding from one building to the other…Right now, any cause of the structural collapse is preliminary,” said Tim Wilson, spokesman for D.C. Fire/EMS.

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