A two-alarm fire sent flames leaping from the roof and attic of the Embassy of Ecuador early Wednesday morning in the Columbia Heights area of Northwest Washington.

The blaze was on top of the embassy at 15th and Euclid Streets NW, across from the northeast corner of Meridian Hill Park.

At about 1 a.m. on Wednesday, fire officials said efforts were still underway to extinguish pockets of flame inside the building.

The embassy is in a four-story tan brick building that reflects the Beaux-Arts tradition, and is topped by a steeply pitched roof in the mansard style.

The cause of the blaze was not known immediately. Firefighters said they were combating the blaze from the building’s interior. However, they also went outside at the top level, and were challenged officials said, by the pitch of the roof.

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Fire equipment filled the intersection; an aerial ladder was placed against the corner of the building where the fire seemed heaviest. Shorter ladders were brought to the top of the building and placed against the sloping roof. near dormer windows.
A total of about 20 pieces of fire equipment were sent to the scene. About 100 firefighters were on hand. A fire department spokesman described the work to quell the fire within the building as exhausting. A relief crew was sent to the scene early Wednesday morning to help with cleanup operations.

Many houses are nearby, and it appeared that the blaze was widely seen. The embassy is about two miles north of the White House.

As of about 2 a.m. Wednesday officials said two firefighters had been taken to hospital s with injuries described as not life-threatening. No other injuries were reported. It was not known if anyone was in the embassy at the time the fire broke out.

The blaze appeared to be one of the most intense to affect an embassy here in many years.

Ecuador is a country of about 15 million people and lies on the equator in South America.
(Source: Washington Post)