Three-Alarm Fire Tears Through Rockville Apartment Complex

Winds spread blaze through three buildings, fire spokesman says


Three-alarm fire rages at Rockville apartment complex

Via Pete Piringer's Twitter

Updated Monday: A wind-driven fire ripped through a Rockville apartment complex on Friday afternoon, forcing dozens of people out of their homes, according to local authorities.

As many as 150 firefighters responded to the three-alarm blaze at Fireside Park Apartments in the 700 block of Monroe Street, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue spokesman Pete Piringer told reporters.

When firefighters first arrived at about 1:30 p.m., the second and third floors of one building were burning; heavy winds later spread the flames to other two buildings, Piringer said.

"The wind was such, it caught the roof on fire and spread it from one building to another," Piringer said.

He said the fire appeared to have started in the second floor of the building at 701 Monroe St. The cause is still under investigation.

At about 3 p.m., Piringer said firefighters had gotten the blaze under control, despite the high winds and frigid temperatures that had frozen the water as they sprayed it onto the burning building.

Firefighters work at the scene of the Monroe Street fire in Rockville. Credit: Andrew Metcalf

Firefighters had searched the buildings several times to make sure all residents were out, he said. No injuries were reported, and first responders had rescued several pets.

On Monday, he said the fire had affected about 27 apartment units, and about 60 people were displaced. The Red Cross was on the scene, and a shelter had been set up for displaced residents.

Watching the firefighters put out the blaze, apartment resident Anita Bonner said she had been at her niece's house when she got a phone call telling her that her home was on fire. She said she'd moved to the complex last year. 

"I lost everything. I got clothes in there. I got TVs in there. I got everything brand new in my apartment," said Bonner, who lives at 701 Monroe St.

Resident Anita Bonner speaks with a Red Cross official at the scene of the fire. Credit: Andrew Metcalf

Eugene McVey, a resident of 703 Monroe St., said a maintenance man banged on his door to alert him to the fire, which at the time was a couple buildings away.

"It took almost 20 minutes for the fire to get to my house, but it sure got there," he said. He added that after finding out about the fire, he knocked on the doors of several of his neighbors to alert them and a few people emerged from their apartments, some carrying pets.

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