Massive Shaw Blaze Damages West African Eatery

Last night, DC’s beloved West African restaurant, Sumah’s was badly damaged by a massive fire. On a cold, windy Wed night, the building on 1727 7th Street NW quickly engulfed in fire creating a terrifying scene for firefighters and onlookers in the busy Shaw district.

Massive Fire with Mrs. Isata Sumah watching from the street

The fire was started from propane tanks left by contractors doing repairs on the roof and was quickly fanned by the rising winds with gusts up to 40 mph  pushing wind chills well below freezing.

Extra engines and personnel had to be called in.

The namesake restaurant of Amara and Isata Sumah was known for its spicy jollof and creamy peanut butter stew is a favorite with Washingtonians and tourists alike. The cuisine has been featured prominently in local news such as the City Paper.

“Mr & Mrs Sumah, I am so sad to hear about the fire. I am very relieved to know that no one was injured. Sending so much love to you both and your wonderful daughters. Please know that you are so loved in this community and we all wish all the best for you and cannot wait for you to re-build,” posted Melanie Friedson on Sumah’s Facebook page.

“We were downstairs working when the fire started. We were able to get out and thankfully everyone is safe.  The firefighters did an amazing job of containing the fire upstairs, but there’s plenty of water damage. Hopefully we can go back in soon to assess the damage and we’ll be sure to let everyone now our plans to rebuild,” said Isata Sumah. “Thank God we’re safe and thanks for your prayers.”

Volunteers set up a canteen unit to provide warm drinks.

Photos courtesy of DC Fire and EMS