Following Montgomery Co. fire, officials stress safety

WASHINGTON — Firefighters were back in a Rockville, Maryland, neighborhood following a major fire at an apartment complex Friday that left 60 people displaced, destroyed three apartment buildings and caused $2 million in damages.

On Saturday morning, Montgomery County firefighters were going door to door talking to residents of the Fireside Park Apartments and surrounding neighborhoods about fire safety and prevention. They also checked if residents had working smoke alarms installed in their homes.

Pete Piringer, a spokesman for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service said firefighters are normally out talking with neighbors on Saturdays as part of the Safety in Our Neighborhood initiative.

The program started decades ago with a focus on checking smoke alarms and has expanded through the years, he said.

What we’ve seen lately (is that) smoke alarms worked and people have gotten out,” Piringer said.

The fire at the Fireside Park Apartments is said to have started on one of these two balconies on Friday. Strong winds is why the fire spread. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
The fire at the Fireside Park Apartments is said to have started on one of these two balconies on Friday. Strong winds is why the fire spread. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

Sixty people were displaced when three buildings were destroyed in Friday's fire. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Sixty people were displaced when three buildings were destroyed in Friday’s fire. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

In the wake of the fire, Montgomery County firefighters canvased the neighborhood to check smoke alarms and talk to residents about fire safety. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
In the wake of the fire, Montgomery County firefighters canvassed the neighborhood to check smoke alarms and talk to residents about fire safety. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

Montgomery County firefighters talking to residents about the importance of fire safety in the wake of Friday's apartment fire in Rockville, which displaced 60 people and caused $2 million in damages. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Montgomery County firefighters talking to residents about the importance of fire safety in the wake of Friday’s apartment fire in Rockville, which displaced 60 people and caused $2 million in damages. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

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The fire at the Fireside Park Apartments is said to have started on one of these two balconies on Friday. Strong winds is why the fire spread. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Sixty people were displaced when three buildings were destroyed in Friday's fire. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
In the wake of the fire, Montgomery County firefighters canvased the neighborhood to check smoke alarms and talk to residents about fire safety. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Montgomery County firefighters talking to residents about the importance of fire safety in the wake of Friday's apartment fire in Rockville, which displaced 60 people and caused $2 million in damages. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

Friday’s fire at the garden-style apartments broke out about 1:30 p.m. Fire officials say it started on a balcony but a cause still has not been determined.

Piringer said that when a tragedy happens, such as Friday’s fire, that is when people are more open to listening and learning about fire safety.

Piringer said he believes Maryland’s new law that requires smoke alarms to have a 10-year life battery is already making a difference.


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