Montgomery Co. official: Coal placed over rat hole caused house fire

WASHINGTON — Two adults are displaced after a Silver Spring house fire that Montgomery County fire officials say was caused by charcoal briquettes used to cover a rat hole.

The fire broke out at 11:45 p.m. Saturday on the 900 block of Northwest Drive near Burnt Mills Hills.

Pete Piringer, spokesman for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, said the fire originated at the below grade floor framing. The homeowner had placed coal at an exterior rat hole “to discourage rats from using it,” said Piringer.

The charcoal was hot at the time, as “typically, charcoal retains heat for sometime after,” Piringer said.

The house fire resulted in more than $50,000 in damages.

Below is a map of the area where the fire took place.

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