D.C.

DC Farmer's Market closed after fire

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A fire has shut down the D.C. Farmers Market at 1309 5th St. NE.

Firefighters were called around 9 p.m. on Thursday night. At the time, the market was closed for business. Firefighters had to cut their way through a chain-link fence to get to the building. Officials say the fire was contained but the smoke damage was extensive.

"It’s ripping my heart apart, today was supposed to be 40 years, we were looking forward to a bright future,” said George Leznar, who owns Harry's market, a full-service meat market with 13 employees.

"They're not working, I'm not working, there is no income, my customers have nowhere to shop,” Leznar said. He had to destroy $30,000 worth of meat.

The property management company said it appears the cause of the fire was electrical, but the D.C. fire department says it is still investigating.

For 67-year-old worker Bob Marshall the shutdown is devastating. He was supposed to clean fish at the market on Friday.

"The little bit of social security I get is not enough, I gotta work," he said.

The historic farmer's market was the scene of a raid by immigration and customs agents last week. Agents seized counterfeit goods and arrested 11 people. The property owner said the events appear to be unconnected.

The market will be shut down for at least 30 days. The company plans to move forward with future remodeling plans.

Alice Snead has shopped at the Farmer’s Market for 30 years.

"At my age I can't go way out,” she said. “All the workers were nice; they would look out for me when I came here… this is ridiculous."

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