Police ID victim in ‘unusual’ Bethesda house fire as 21-year-old Silver Spring man

WASHINGTON — Police in Montgomery County have identified the man who died in a Bethesda house fire earlier this month as 21-year-old Askia Khafra of Silver Spring.

Authorities have called the Sept. 10 fire in the Maplewood area of Bethesda “unusual,” describing an “excavation” under the home that may have included tunnels.

Initially, investigators said hoarding conditions created a challenge in fighting the fire, which had engulfed all three floors of the home in the 5200 block of Danbury Road.

Khafra’s body was discovered in the basement of the home, investigators said. Investigators said they also found chemicals, wiring and other “equipment” in the basement.

Courtesy Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service
Firefighters located the missing individual in the basement of the home, but he was dead. The identities of the victims of the fire are not available. (Courtesy Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service) (Courtesy Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service)
Firefighters responded at 4:20 p.m. Sunday to a home on Danbury Road near Holland Avenue. (Courtesy Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service)
Firefighters responded at 4:20 p.m. Sunday to a home on Danbury Road near Holland Avenue. (Courtesy Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service) (Courtesy Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service)
Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire rapidly, said Montgomery County Fire Battalion Chief Dan Ogren. (Courtesy Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service)
Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire rapidly, said Montgomery County Fire Battalion Chief Dan Ogren. (Courtesy Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service) (Courtesy Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service)
One man was able to escape from the house and indicated that his friend was still in the house. (Courtesy Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service)
One man was able to escape from the house and indicated that his friend was still in the hose. (Courtesy Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service) (Courtesy Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service)
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Courtesy Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service
Firefighters responded at 4:20 p.m. Sunday to a home on Danbury Road near Holland Avenue. (Courtesy Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service)
Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire rapidly, said Montgomery County Fire Battalion Chief Dan Ogren. (Courtesy Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service)
One man was able to escape from the house and indicated that his friend was still in the house. (Courtesy Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service)

Montgomery County police say they’re still waiting on autopsy results that will provide the manner and cause of Khafra’s death.

The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service is still investigating the cause of the fatal house fire.

Khafra was not the home’s owner, according to online court records, and it’s unclear his connection to the home.

Another man who escaped the house fire was hospitalized. He has not been identified, but fire officials at the time said he was 31 years old. There is no word on his condition.


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