2021 | Police & Fire

Neighbor rescues twin 18-month-olds, grandparents from burning townhouse

No injuries reported; multiple families in Gaithersburg displaced

A neighbor rescued grandparents and their twin 18-month-old grandchildren from a burning townhouse in Gaithersburg on Saturday night.

Photo from Pete Piringer via Twitter

A neighbor rescued twin 18-month-old children and their grandparents from a burning townhouse in Gaithersburg Saturday night, according to a Fire & Rescue official.

Pete Piringer, a Montgomery Fire & Rescue spokesman, wrote on Twitter that about 85 firefighters were called to the 10100 block of Sterling Terrace around 11:20 p.m. on Saturday and found “heavy fire” coming from the garage.

Everyone got out safely before firefighters arrived, including the grandparents and their 18-month-old grandchildren, who one neighbor helped rescue, Piringer wrote.

The Washington Post reported on Sunday that George Totoreanu, a Master’s student at Georgetown University who previously served in the Army, ran across the street to the home to help when he saw flames.

Totoreanu banged on the door, asked the grandfather if anyone else was inside and ran up the stairs to rescue the grandmother and two children, the Post reported.

“I didn’t think about it at all. I just went,” Totoreanu told The Post on Sunday.

Piringer wrote that there were no injuries, but several families were displaced.

The fire was likely an electrical malfunction that started in the garage, Piringer wrote, and later spread to combustibles and a car. It caused $2.2 million in structural and property damage, he wrote.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com