Montgomery Co. shelter that caught fire on Fourth of July, displacing dozens, may not reopen for months

Damage to the interior of a women's shelter on Crabbs Branch Way in Derwood, Maryland, after a fire tore through the building on Fourth of July, 2024.(Courtesy Earl Stoddard)

It could be a few weeks, or even a few months, before a women’s shelter in Montgomery County can reopen after a Fourth of July fire displaced residents and staff members, according to officials in the Maryland county.

The electrical fire started midday Thursday after the motor of a fan in a ceiling area overheated. Residents were evacuated, but no injuries were reported.

According to Montgomery County Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Earl Stoddard, 37 women were affected, and alternate housing has been found for them while the property on Crabbs Branch Way in Derwood is assessed.

As of Monday, “Servpro is on site doing a lot of the restoration work today, getting it cleaned up so the engineers can make their more thorough assessment,” Stoddard said.

“The Department of General Services got engineers on site looking at the corded building systems — you know, electrical, HVAC, plumbing.”

In the meantime, Interfaith Works, the nonprofit that operates the women’s shelter, has created a link where donations can be accepted. According to the site, “Damage was extensive and the County has already started cleaning up.”

Along with financial donations, the site is asking for help providing meals to clients, because there is no kitchen in the temporary facility where the women have been relocated.

At his weekly briefing, Montgomery County Council member Andrew Friedson thanked the county agencies that responded to the fire.

“On behalf of the council as well, I just want to reiterate our deep appreciation for the selflessness and sacrifice that really defines public safety and the service that so many of our public safety professionals provide on a daily basis.”

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Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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