2020 | Police & Fire

UPDATED: Woman found dead after apartment fire in Leisure World

About 50 people displaced; cause under investigation

A fire early Saturday morning at an apartment complex in Leisure World displaced about 50 people.

Via Pete Piringer, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services

This story was updated at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 28, 2020, and at 10:15 a.m. Nov. 30, 2020, to include additional information about the fire.

A woman was found dead after a fire ravaged an apartment complex early Saturday morning in Leisure World in Silver Spring.

The fire broke out around 1:30 a.m. at a three-story apartment building on Elkridge Way, according to Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services spokesman Pete Piringer.

Piringer said firefighters had a “very challenging time evacuating residents” and “a number of people needed assistance.” At 8 a.m. Saturday, officials said no injuries were reported among residents or firefighters, but firefighters were still working to “account for all residents.”

At about 1:20 p.m., the Montgomery County Police Department reported that a woman was found dead in her apartment. No foul play is suspected in her death, but the investigation is ongoing, according to a press release from the police. Rebecca Innocenti, a police spokeswoman, said Monday that an autopsy is being conducted and no additional information was available about the woman’s death.

In an interview Monday morning, Piringer said the cause of the fire is “officially undetermined,” but investigators believe it started on a third-floor balcony. The fire likely went undetected for “some time” and spread to the roof before emergency crews were called. Leisure World is “age-restricted,” meaning only people 55 and older can live there.

Approximately 120 firefighters were on scene through Saturday morning. The apartment building sustained significant damage and is “uninhabitable,” Piringer said. The Red Cross and the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security provided temporary shelter to about 35 people who were displaced, Piringer said.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com