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Sirens from fire engines and police cars drew the attention of numerous members of the downtown community just before 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 1. A fire alarm in Diamond Terrace, a 14-story high-rise condominium that stands on the corner of Ninth Avenue and J Street, was echoing throughout the neighborhood.

A few occupants from the building were soon on the street, some with their pets and a few belongings. Standing near the front entrance of the condominium, an officer explained, “There’s smoke out of one of the apartments.”

From the street, a spotlight was pointed at a balcony on the fifth floor where smoke was clearly visible. The exact cause of the fire was not disclosed.

Firefighters reportedly shut off the power to most of the building and swept through the unit and extinguished the fire. Within a matter of minutes, water was flowing freely from the balcony down to the lower units and street level.

“It looked like a waterfall, the way all that water was coming out of there,” said an onlooker. “I’m not sure if it’s from the firefighters or the sprinklers.”

Across the street, a group of displaced homeowners with troubled looks on their faces were staring at their condominium. “I’m freaking out right now,” said a lady.

“When I heard the alarm, I got out of there as fast as I could,” said a man who was on the same floor as the fire. Some residents who live in adjacent units expressed concern for damage done to their property by both fire and water.

Although a paramedic arrived at the scene, it did not appear as though anyone was injured or needed medical assistance. It took firefighters about an hour to clear the area.

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