Party lights on rear deck ignite $350K Bethesda house fire

Party lights on the rear deck of a house ignited a large fire that displaced a family of six in North Bethesda, Maryland, on Wednesday afternoon.

No one was home when the blaze started at around 4 p.m. on Danville Drive in the Tilden Woods neighborhood. The fire was quickly put by 85 Montgomery County firefighters and there were no injuries.

But two adults and four children were displaced, and the fire caused an estimated $350,000 in damages, according to Montgomery County Fire & Rescue.

“The homeowners had constructed a temporary structure consisting of some metal frames, canvas and a bamboo roof, etc., as part of a holiday celebration, and the structure had some party lights essentially that were attached,” said Montgomery County Fire & Rescue spokesperson Pete Piringer. “And the lights apparently had been turned on constantly for several days.”

Piringer said investigators determined that “a portion of the bamboo roofing or canvas wall where they join together became pressed against one of the energized light bulbs, which ignited that material.”

On Thursday afternoon, Montgomery County Fire & Rescue planned an “after-the-fire” safety initiative where first responders will return to the Tilden Woods neighborhood to check smoke alarms and educate the community about fire safety.

Anna Gawel

Anna Gawel joined WTOP in 2020 and works in both the radio and digital departments. Anna Gawel has spent much of her career as the managing editor of The Washington Diplomat, which has been the flagship publication of D.C.’s diplomatic community for over 25 years.

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