Off-duty firefighter helps Gaithersburg family extinguish house blaze

A Montgomery County firefighter, who had just come off duty Sunday morning, came to the aid of a family in Gaithersburg, Maryland, whose house had just caught ablaze.

“I guess you’re never really off duty,” said Montgomery County Fire and Rescue spokesman Pete Piringer, who told WTOP about the unnamed firefighter who came upon a house fire on the 100 block of Winnie Place in Gaithersburg.



Piringer said the firefighter was in the area at around 6:30 a.m. Sunday when he saw smoke coming out of the house, and the front door wide-open. After yelling into the house to see if anyone needed help, no one responded.

The firefighter then entered the house to look for anyone who might need help. That’s when he heard voices of the family that lived at the residence, who had exited out the back door.

“As it turns out, the family was at home, they were awake and they had a smoke alarm activated. They went to discover or investigate what was going on, and they found a fire in the bedroom,” Piringer said.

Before the firefighter arrived, one of the homeowners called 911 as the other tried to put out the blaze with a fire extinguisher.

When the off-duty firefighter came on the scene, he ensured no one was left in the house, then grabbed a nearby garden hose to help the homeowners finish putting out the fire.

Moments later, “firefighters from nearby stations arrived on the scene and were able to finish the job,” Piringer said.

Officials believe the blaze was caused by an e-cigarette charging in the bedroom. Damage to the house has been estimated at around $10,000.

WTOP’s Nardos Mesmer contributed to this story.

Joshua Barlow

Joshua Barlow is a writer, composer, and producer who has worked for CGTN, Atlantic Public Media, and National Public Radio. He lives in Northeast Washington, D.C., where he pays attention to developments in his neighborhood, economic issues, and social justice.

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