A large fire burned at a Montgomery County, Maryland, church Monday afternoon, collapsing the building’s roof and briefly trapping some firefighters battling the blaze.
“They were rescued pretty quickly and were uninjured,” Charles Bailey, the nominee to be Montgomery County’s Fire chief, said during a news conference outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Western Avenue in Chevy Chase.
Montgomery County and D.C. Fire and EMS, which was assisting, started fighting the 2-alarm fire at 12:30 p.m.
By 4 p.m. it was largely contained.
WTOP’s Will Vitka walked through the scene afterward and, while significant road closures remained, he reported that it appeared under control.
Montgomery Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Pete Piringer said on the social media platform X that the heavy flames caused an interior structure collapse.
Bailey said the fire caused a “significant roof collapse” inside the church that trapped some D.C. firefighters.
Smoke could be seen billowing in the neighborhood as the fire continued to burn.
— Mike Murillo (@MikeMurilloWTOP) November 20, 2023
Bailey said it appears the fire began in the attic space, but it’s still unclear what caused the fire. It’s not believed anyone is currently inside the church, and there have been no reported injuries. But, “There going to be siginificant damage,” Bailey said.
WTOP’s Mike Murillo said he saw the steeple engulfed and tongues of flames coming out of several windows. By 2:30 p.m., Murillo said it appeared the flames have been doused.
The part of Western Avenue where the fire happened remains closed.
Below is the area where it happened.