Silver Spring apartment complex fire displaces dozens of residents

A fire at the Flower Branch Apartments in Silver Spring, Maryland, left dozens of residents displaced Jan. 8, 2022. (Courtesy Montgomery County Fire and Rescue)

A fire that broke out at a Silver Spring, Maryland, apartment complex early Saturday morning forced at least one resident to jump from a second-story balcony and left dozens displaced from their homes, a Montgomery County Fire and Rescue spokesperson said.

Pete Piringer with Montgomery County fire said the fire began around 4 a.m. in the living room of a second-story apartment in the four-level Flower Branch Apartments in the 8500 block of Garland Avenue.

Piringer told WTOP the resident had gone to bed the night before with a candle still burning in their living room, believing it would burn out on its own. Around 4 a.m., the resident woke up to the smell of smoke and sound of a smoke alarm. When he went to leave his bedroom and investigate, he found his living room was already on fire and filled with smoke.

At that point, the resident shut the door to the bedroom — which Piringer said was a critical step in his survival — and jumped from a balcony in his bedroom to the ground below.

When firefighters arrived on the scene, numerous people had been trapped outside on their balconies, with temperatures in the single digits. Rescue workers were able to get all of them down without incident, Piringer said.

The Red Cross of the National Capital & Greater Chesapeake Region said it is currently assisting around 50 individuals, including more than a dozen children.

No residents or firefighters were injured in the incident, according to Piringer.

The cause of the fire is believed to be accidental, according to Piringer, and he estimated damages to be over $100,000.

Flower Branch Apartments was also the site of an explosion that claimed the lives of seven people, including two children, in 2016. The National Transportation and Safety board concluded that a defective indoor mercury service regulator was the probable cause of that explosion.

Below is the area where the fire broke out:

WTOP’s Mike Murillo contributed to this report.

Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

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