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When a story doesn't become a story

We always welcome tips here at The Washington Post, so when we got one the other day about how the heat and hot water were out at some of the facilities that house wounded warriors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, we jumped on it. Given the history of problems at the famed Army hospital in Northwest, this could be a big story if true, and so I spent the better part of the day scrambling to confirm the problems with wounded warriors and their families.

But it turned out that while there indeed had been problems over the New Year’s holiday, by the time word reached us, they were fixed and all was back to normal. Once the hospital’s command got word of what was going on, they scrambled to get the heat and water on and then held a meeting to reassure patients. The people who tipped us off said they were satisfied that their concerns had been addressed and did not want to speak on the record.

Chuck Dasey, a spokesman for the hospital, said hot water at the Mologne House, the large hotel on the grounds of the medical center, had gone out New Year’s Day and, because it was a holiday weekend, didn’t come back on until the following Monday or Tuesday. There were also heating problems at Abrams Hall, he said. But wounded warriors were transferred to other accommodations with heat until the heat came back on.

“We got someone working on the heat issue right away,” Dasey said.

So keep the tips coming. We’ll run them to the ground, even if they don’t yield stories that find their way into print.

By Christian Davenport  | January 12, 2010; 10:08 AM ET
Categories:  How I got that story  
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