After 5 deadly fires in Montgomery Co., ‘all-hands-on-deck’ effort to check on all apartment buildings without sprinklers

Over the weekend, firefighters in Montgomery County, Maryland, will be spreading critical safety tips to prevent fires.

It comes after the county saw five fatal fires in just three weeks., fire department officials say.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue spokesman Pete Piringer said the weekend work will be an “all-hands-on-deck type of effort,” adding that firefighters will visit all 76 apartment buildings in the county that don’t have sprinkler systems.

“The chief wanted us to go revisit, refocus on those high-rise buildings in Montgomery County that are non-sprinkler, just to ensure that the residents have information,” he said.

Piringer said firefighters will be spreading tips to residents, such as making sure your escape plan includes two ways out of your building, in case one way is blocked.

Other tips include closing your bedroom door when you sleep, which can stop fire from spreading,  and talking about an exit plan with your family.

Just like they do almost every time-change weekend, he said firefighters will also be reminding people to check the batteries in their smoke detectors.

“It’s a good opportunity to get into a lifesaving habit: When you change your clock, check your smoke alarms,” said Piringer.

Last month, a three-alarm fire that broke out a high-rise apartment building in Silver Spring left one woman dead, twenty other people injured and hundreds without a place to live.

That complex, Arrive Silver Spring, was built before sprinkler heads were required, and the state code gives building owners until 2033 to retrofit them with the equipment.


Kyle Cooper

Weekend and fill-in anchor Kyle Cooper has been with WTOP since 1992. Over those 25 years, Kyle has worked as a street reporter, editor and anchor. Prior to WTOP, Kyle worked at several radio stations in Indiana and at the Indianapolis Star Newspaper.

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