News & Politics

RFK Caught On Fire Today

Photograph by MSgt. Ken Hammond/Wikimedia Commons.

RFK stadium caught fire Tuesday, the latest indignity in its long decline as a public space. The DC fire department tweeted this bizarre video of RFK looking like something from a post-apocalyptic video game:

By 6:30 PM the department said it had extinguished “several fires” and was looking for more. No one, it said, had been hurt.

Indeed, the arena has sat empty for years, and its eventual disposition has vexed officials. DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has called the site the “only national park dedicated to asphalt.” Various plans to bring the Washington Commanders back to the site have gone exactly nowhere. Others wish for housing on the site–that hasn’t happened, either.

RFK has served as home to 11 college and pro teams. Its last big-name tenant was D.C. United, whose team members and staff shared the space with miffed raccoons. It previously hosted the Washington Nationals, who arrived at the crumbling site before the 2005 season to discover birds in the offices and flooding. “If you needed to give the world an enema, that’s where they would have stuck it,” former Nats assistant general manager Tony Siegle told Washingtonian about RFK. “It was a horrible, horrible place. Rat-infested. Filthy. Decrepit. You name it.”

 

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.

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