Neighbor helps Montgomery Co. family escape fire

Firefighters responded to “heavy fire” conditions in the garage of a house in the 1010 block of Sterling Terrace near Gaithersburg at 11:20 p.m.

Several Maryland families have been displaced following a house fire late Saturday night in Montgomery County.

Firefighters responded to “heavy fire” conditions in the garage of a house in the 1010 block of Sterling Terrace near Gaithersburg at 11:20 p.m., according to Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Pete Piringer.

George Totoreanu, who recently moved into the neighborhood in a home across the street, helped the family get out and even went back into the flames to rescue a young child before firefighters arrived on the scene.

“I looked to the right and I was like ‘interesting this looks like a fire,'” Totoreanu told WTOP. He said he went over immediately to check on his neighbors to see if they needed help.

“[The homeowner] answered the door and I told him ‘get out, get across the street,'” he said. “He didn’t respond — I assume because there was more people in the house.”

Once Totoreanu realized more people were at risk, he said he went inside the residence to find them and guide them out.

“I went inside, ran upstairs — I don’t really remember how I found upstairs, I just found it,” he said. “Our neighbor, she was upstairs with two kids. She had a kid in one arm, and she couldn’t get the other one and then I ran down the hall where she pointed that the kid was, grabbed the kid.

“In the meantime I think she was grabbing some possessions so she ran into another room but then I ran into that room and told her ‘No let’s go right now,” Totoreanu said.

“I went in front of her and I kept yelling at her to follow me. She was kind of scared of coming out because the flames were coming across the door.”

All occupants escaped without injury and most of the fire was out by 12:37 a.m. Sunday.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

A map of the area is below.

WTOP’s Acacia James and Adisa Hargett-Robinson contributed to this report.

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