Montgomery County firefighters responded to a house fire on Friday night in Wheaton. Credit: Photo via Pete Piringer

This story was updated at 1:08 p.m. on Monday to include a statement from Montgomery County police that was not previously available.

Montgomery County firefighters who were supposed to respond to a house fire on Friday night in Wheaton were sent to an address 16 miles away.

At approximately 10:30 p.m., a fire was reported on the upper level of a Wheaton home where two people were stuck inside, but crews were initially dispatched to Rockville.

In the emergency dispatch recording, first responders can be heard saying they arrived at a townhouse at 2005 Piccard Drive in Rockville.

“I’ve got a three-story, middle-of-the-row townhouse. Nothing’s showing,” one first responder can be heard saying. “I need you to call back and check the address … There’s nothing going on.”

About 10 minutes later, a separate crew arrived at the correct address, 2005 Prichard Road, in Wheaton.


Two people and a dog were rescued from the home. One adult was transported to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The fire was started by “improperly discarded smoking materials” in a second floor bedroom, according to Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services spokesman Pete Piringer.

The county’s emergency dispatch operations are managed by the police department. Police spokespeople could not be reached for comment on Monday morning, but Piringer said an investigation has been launched to determine how the mix-up happened.

In a statement on Monday afternoon, the police department wrote that the “call-taker misunderstood the caller and entered” the wrong address.


“This incident is still under review and appropriate actions will be taken to mitigate the chances of such an error occurring in the future,” the statement said.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at