Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Media Advisory: Fire Causes Significant Damage to Potomac Home

IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  February 27, 2013

      Fire Causes Significant Damage to Potomac Home

        Fire Displaces Family of Four 

Montgomery County, MD - - -  A Potomac home suffered over $600,000 in damages after a fire Monday afternoon. Firefighters were dispatched shortly after 4:00 p.m. to the 12400 block of Willow Green Court in Potomac for the report of a house fire. First arriving units described heavy fire and smoke conditions and requested additional resources.  
Photos courtesy of Rockville Volunteer Fire Department 

Two teenagers were home at the time of the fire and were able to safely escape after an alert neighbor walking her dog smelled smoke and went to investigate to locate the source. The neighbor saw flames to the rear of a home and quickly called 9-1-1, secured her dog to a nearby mailbox and ran to the home and began to pound on the front door of the home in an attempt to alert any occupants inside that the home was on fire. The teens inside narrowly escaped the blaze and officials are crediting the alert neighbor’s quick actions in helping the occupants escape safely.   

Fire and Explosive Investigators conducted a detailed investigation and have determined that the fire was accidental in nature and believe that cooking materials placed outside to cool sparked the fire. Investigators noted that, due to extensive fire damage to the home, they were unable to determine whether the home was equipped with smoke alarms.   

One firefighter was injured and was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries and has been released. Approximately 80 fire rescue personnel responded and were on the scene at the height of firefighting operations and the American Red Cross was assisting the displaced family.

Fire department officials remind all residents that smoke alarms are one of the most important safety features to have in your home and, with many units available for under twenty dollars, they are worth every penny. 

More photos below and HERE

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Photos courtesy of Rockville Volunteer Fire Department 
Photos courtesy of Rockville Volunteer Fire Department 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

TURN AROUND - DON’T DROWN and Try an Alternate Route! List of Roads That Flood

Lots of rain in the forecast today and the National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch between 3 PM and mid-night tonight!  Rain total of anywhere between 1 - 2 inches is expected.  

If you must be out on the roads later today and tonight PLEASE remember to Turn Around and Do Not Drown if you come upon a flooded roadway!  

If you will be out and about during this time, please take a moment to review the below safety tips and list of roads that do tend to flood (so you can pick another route of travel).

Many Roads in Montgomery County Are Susceptible to Flooding so Consider Alternate Routes Beforehand!

Flash floods more often occur in mountain streams, hilly areas or low-lying areas.  But they do happen in urban and suburban areas like Montgomery County, as well.  Flash floods can occur even though it's not raining where you are.  It may be raining hard farther upstream and raining so hard that the water can not be absorbed into the ground.
Safety Tips: 
If a flash flood warning is issued, act immediately.  Don't wait for high water to dictate your course of action. 
Know your location when you are driving.  If you needed rescue, would you be able to direct emergency crews to your location?  Distracted driving can lead to a situation where you are stranded and unable to direct emergency crews to you.  Be alert! 
Never drive through a flooded road or bridge.  Turn Around - Don’t Drown and try an alternate route!  In many cases, it takes far less than a foot of water to incapacitate a vehicle.  It may stall, leaving you stranded, and depending on the level of water, you may not be able to open a vehicle door.  Do not underestimate the power of moving water. 
Watch for flooding at bridges and dips in the road.  Never drive where water is over bridges or roads. Turn around - Don’t Drown!  The bridges or the road could suddenly be washed out. If you're driving at night be especially careful.  Often visibility is limited due to wind and rain. 
Often what you can't see below the surface of the water is far more dangerous than the high levels of that water.  Remember that rocks, tree limbs and other debris can be caught in moving water and can be dangerous if you are forced to walk, wade or swim through flood waters. 
If you have to walk or wade through flood water, use a stick to poke the ground in front of you with each step.  It can help you determine water levels, the bottom surface and the safest possible way to get to higher ground. 
Remember that flash floods can come without warning, and sometimes without weather.  Be alert and heed all warnings and recommendations from officials. From FEMA's website, some further information about driving through flooded roadways:
  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
  • A foot of water will float many vehicles.  
  • Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUV's) and pick-ups
TURN AROUND - DON’T DROWN and try an alternate route!


MD 29 (Columbia Pike) at Paint Branch - N. of White Oak 
MD 185 (Conn. Ave) at Rock Creek - S. of Kensington 
MD 190 (River Road) at Cabin John Creek - Potomac 
MD 193 (Univ. Blvd) at Sligo Creek - Wheaton 
MD 586 (Viers Mill Rd) at Rock Creek - S. of Twinbrook Pkwy. 
Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park - Kensington-Chevy Chase 
Sligo Creek Pkwy - Silver Spring-Takoma Park 

MD 97 (Georgia Ave) at Reddy Branch - N. of Brookeville 
MD 124 (Woodfield Rd) at Goshen Branch and at Gr. Seneca Creek - N. of Brink Rd. 
MD 117 (Clopper Rd) at Gr. Seneca Creek - W. of Gaithersburg 
MD 117 (Clopper Rd) at Little Seneca Creek - E. of Boyds 
MD 355 (Frederick Rd) at Little Seneca Creek - W. of Brink 
MD 121 (Clarksburg Rd) near Little Seneca Lake - N. of Boyds 
MD 118 (Germantown Rd) at Great Seneca Creek - S. of Germantown 
River Rd and Berryville Rd at Seneca Creek - Seneca 
Blunt Road at Great Seneca Creek - S. of Brink Rd. 
Davis Mill Rd at Great Seneca Creek - N. of Gaithersburg 
Brighton Dam Rd at Hawlings River - NE of Brookeville 
Goldmine Rd at Hawlings River - E of Olney 
Zion Rd at Hawlings River - E. of Laytonsville 
Hoyles Mill Rd at ford of Little Seneca Creek - Germantown, west of soccer complex 
Loghouse Rd at Magruder Branch - S. of Damascus 
Elton Farm Rd at Haights Branch - N. of Sunshine 
Howard Chapel Rd at Haights Branch - N. of Sunshine 
White’s Ferry Road and River Road - White’s Ferry 


Monday, February 25, 2013

MCFRS Significant Incident Map Sunday, February 17 – Saturday, February 23. New Feature Added!

Understand these are only incidents we think have some significance and will not include, for example, a response to false or well intentioned fire alarms. Likewise, not every single medical call is on there either.

We have added a NEW feature as well!  Look for the Camera Icon next to some of the incidents.  Clicking on this icon will either show you a photo or a photo and a link to more photos of the incident.  Hope everyone likes this new feature.

Hope all of you find this useful. Please comment below or send an email letting us know what you think. 

View MCFRS Significant Incident Map in a larger map

Sunday, February 24, 2013

House Fire 11100 block of NICHOLAS DR 2/23/13


2/23/13 Box 18-15 11100 block of Nicholas Dr ... House Fire during the early morning hours yesterday in the Glenmont area of Montgomery County. Units arrived on scene with fire and smoke coming from the house. No civilian injuries with damages of approximately $400K.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Fire and Explosive Investigators Have a Busy Week

IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  February 22, 2013

Fire and Explosive Investigators Have a Busy Week  
Two buildings are a total loss after separate fires

Montgomery County, MD - - -  Fire and Explosive Investigators returned to the scene of Wednesday night’s large fire in Germantown yesterday to continue their investigation into what possibly sparked the fire. Firefighters were dispatched shortly after 7:30 p.m. to 17001 Germantown Road on February 20th for the report of a fire. Units arrived on the scene and reported a large commercial warehouse building fully engulfed in flames and requested additional resources. At the height of operations, over 75 firefighters battled the blaze. The warehouse was considered a total loss and belongs to High Point Catering.


Units remained on the scene for several hours Wednesday night and preliminary damage estimates were $500,000. There is no indication of anything suspicious and investigators listed the cause of the fire as undetermined earlier today.      
In a separate fire on Thursday, February 21st, firefighters were dispatched shortly after 4:30 a.m. to 175 Watts Branch Parkway in Rockville for the initial report of a fire in the woods. Crews arrived on the scene and found a large, vacant building with heavy fire and smoke conditions. A second alarm was dispatched and additional units requested. The fire was well-advanced upon the arrival of firefighters. Crews extinguished the large blaze and the cause of the fire remains under investigation. The building, which served as a former residential treatment facility for youth and operated under the name of the “Karma Academy,” closed several years ago. The building was boarded up and vacant at the time of the fire and officials report an estimated $250,000 in damages to the structure.

There were no injuries reported in either fire.  

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Cooking Safety Tips for Older Adults (Video)

It's a recipe for serious injury or even death to wear loose clothing (especially hanging sleeves), walk away from a cooking pot on the stove or leave items that can catch fire, such as potholders or paper towels, around the stove. Learn more about cooking safety...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Building fire 17000 block of Germantown Rd

Germantown RdGermantown Rd 4Germantown Rd 3Germantown Rd 2Germantown Rd 5

Building fire on 2/20/13 in the 17000 block of Germantown Rd in Fire Station #22’s first due. Photos courtesy of Captain Troy Lipp.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Master Firefighter Promotions Announced

Fire Chief Richard Bowers is pleased to announce the following promotions to Master Firefighter.  Best of luck to all in their new positions and be safe!

  • David J. Kennedy

  • John T. Mcelfresh

  • Michael R. Damskey
  • Tuesday, February 19, 2013

    MCFRS Significant Incident Map Sunday, February 10 – Saturday, February 16

    Understand these are only incidents we think have some significance and will not include, for example, a response to false or well intentioned fire alarms. Likewise, not every single medical call is on there either.

    Hope all of you find this useful. Please comment below or send an email letting us know what you think.

    View MCFRS Significant Incident Map in a larger map

    Monday, February 18, 2013

    Learn How To Reduce Your Property Tax Bill By 50%

    Automatic Fire Sprinklers

    The Facts

    Home sprinklers are effective in fighting fire
    • Automatic fire sprinklers have been in use in the U.S. since 1874.
    • Fire sprinklers are widely recognized as the single most effective method for fighting the spread of fires in their early stages - before they can cause severe injury to people and damage to property.
    • When one fire sprinkler head goes off to fight a fire the entire sprinkler system does NOT activate. Sprinklers react to temperatures in individual rooms.
    • The chances of a fire sprinkler accidentally going off are extremely remote.
    • Installation of fire sprinklers can provide discounts on insurance premiums.
    • The costs for installing fire sprinkler systems in buildings 6 to 8 stories high ranges from under a dollar to about $2.00 per square foot in most new construction and from about $1.50 to $2.50 per square foot for retrofitting sprinklers in existing buildings.
    • The installation of fire sprinklers in new residential construction is estimated to make up around 1% of the total building cost. (Similar to the cost of new carpet)
    • Over 200 U.S. communities have residential sprinkler laws. Roughly 100 of these communities are in California. In downtown Fresno for example, there has been fire damage of only $42,000 during a 10-year period in which its sprinkler law has been in effect.
    • According to the National Fire Protection Association, property damage in hotel fires was 78% less in structures with sprinklers than it was in structures without sprinklers during the years 1983-87. (Average loss per fire was $2,300 in sprinklered buildings and $10,300 in unsprinklered buildings.)
    • Nearly half of all hotels and motels, according to a 1988 survey by NFPA, have sprinkler systems.
    • NFPA has no record of a fire killing more than two people in a completely sprinklered building where the system was properly operating, except in an explosion or flash fire or where industrial fire brigade members or employees were killed during fire suppression operations.


    Automatic sprinkler systems have enjoyed an enviable record of protecting life and property for over 100 years. Yet, there are still common misunderstandings about the operation and effectiveness of automatic fire sprinkler systems:
    Myth 1: "Water damage from a sprinkler system will be more extensive than fire damage."
    Fact: Water damage from a home sprinkler system will be much less severe than the damage caused by water from fire-fighting hose lines or smoke and fire damage if the fire goes unabated. Quick response sprinklers release 8-24 gallons of water per minute compared to 50-125 gallons per minute released by a fire hose.
    Myth 2: "When a fire occurs, every sprinkler head goes off."
    Fact: Sprinkler heads are individually activated by fire. Residential fires are usually controlled with one sprinkler head. 90% of all fires are controlled with six or fewer heads and a study conducted in Australia and New Zealand covering 82 years of automatic sprinkler use found that 82% of the fires which occurred were controlled by two or fewer sprinklers.
    Myth 3: "A smoke detector provides enough protection."
    Fact: Smoke detectors save lives by providing a warning system but can do nothing to extinguish a growing fire or protect those physically unable to escape on their own, such as the elderly or small children. Too often, battery operated smoke detectors fail to function because the batteries are dead or have been removed. As the percent of homes in America that were "protected" with smoke detectors increased from zero to more than 70%, the number of fire deaths in homes did not significantly decrease.
    Myth 4: "Sprinklers are designed to protect property, but are not effective for life safety."
    Fact: Sprinklers provide a high level of life safety. Statistics demonstrate that there has never been any multiple loss of life in a fully sprinklered building. Property losses are 85% less in residences with fire sprinklers compared to those without sprinklers. The combination of automatic sprinklers and early warning systems in all buildings and residences could reduce overall injuries, loss of life and property damage by at least 50%.


    Friday, February 15, 2013

    Unit Citations

    Yesterday, Fire Chief Bowers stopped by Fire Station #2 (Takoma Park) and Fire Station #15 (Burtonsville) to present personnel with unit citations for life saving actions taken at two fires last year.

    Station 2’s crew quickly went into rescue and fire extinguishment mode when responding to a fire on Flower Avenue in Takoma Park. Due to their quick actions, a 15 year old female was rescued.

    Likewise, career and volunteer personnel from Station #15 received recognition for their quick actions at a fire on Castle Boulevard that resulted in 17 people being removed/rescued from harms way.

    Video and photos are below. Great job by all!

    Fire Station #2 crew

    Fire Station #15

    Wednesday, February 13, 2013

    MCFRS Significant Incident Map Sunday, February 3 – Saturday, February 9

    Understand these are only incidents we think have some significance and will not include, for example, a response to false or well intentioned fire alarms. Likewise, not every single medical call is on there either.

    Hope all of you find this useful. Please comment below or send an email letting us know what you think.

    View MCFRS Significant Incident Map in a larger map

    Thursday, February 7, 2013

    MCFRS Social Media Platforms

    Thanks to all of you who keep up with us via our various social media platforms.  I hope you find them interesting and informative.

    We are always seeking ways to add to, and improve, our social media platforms.  As a matter of fact, look for a “Tweetchat” in the near future to solicit your input to help us improve.
    In the interim, below, please see links to all of our social media platforms we currently utilize.  Hopefully you find at least some of them useful and utilize the sites to get much of your information as it relates to Montgomery County Fire & Rescue.

    Hoping you have a Happy and SAFE weekend coming up!

    -Bill D

             MCFRS on FaceBook
             Chief’s Blog
             MCFRS on LinkedIn
             MCFRS on Screenr
             MCFRS on Twitter
             MCFRS Virtual TV
             MCFRS Digital News

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

    MCFRS Significant Incident Map - Week of January 20 – February 2, 2013

    In an effort to expand our Open Gov-like offerings, MCFRS has put together the below Google Map: MCFRS Significant Incident Map - For the week of January 20 – February 2, 2013

    This will allow the user to go in and click on various fire department incident icons to see what is going on and where. Understand these are only incidents we think have some significance and will not include, for example, a response to false or well intentioned fire alarms. Likewise, not every single medical call is on there either.

    Hope all of you find this useful. Please comment below or send an email letting us know what you think.

    View MCFRS Significant Incident Map in a larger map

    Fire Started by Smoldering Cigarette Discarded in Trash Can

    Montgomery County, MD - - - A man narrowly escaped from a house that caught fire early Saturday morning and investigators have determined that a cigarette discarded in a kitchen trash can was the cause of the fire.

    Montgomery County Fire and Rescue personnel were dispatched shortly after 7:30 a.m. to the 13000 block of Payson Street in Rockville for the report of a house fire. Firefighters quickly brought the fire under control and investigators were requested to the scene and have determined that an improperly discarded cigarette started the fire in the trash can. Investigators have confirmed that there were no working smoke alarms in the house and have estimated that the fire caused $195,000 in damages.

    The resident was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries and was expected to be released over the weekend.  

    There are countless statistics and warnings about the health dangers of smoking however many overlook the very serious hazards of home fires created by cigarettes. According to the National Fire Protection Association, smoking is the leading cause of residential fire deaths.

    The following tips can help prevent a tragedy from striking you:

         · Dispose of smoking materials properly. Never dump cigarette butts in trash bags or containers without first thoroughly soaking them in water.

         · If you smoke outside, use a non-combustible container, such as an ash tray or coffee can, and don't discard smoking material on the ground or in mulch.

         · After parties or family gatherings and before going to bed, always check your furniture if people have been smoking. Lift the cushions and check in between the sides and backs, and under furniture.

         · Provide plenty of ashtrays for people to use.

         · Never smoke in bed.

         · Sleep with your bedroom doors closed. This simple action can prevent smoke and poisonous gasses from entering your bedroom and allows time for the smoke alarm to wake you in time to safely evacuate.

         · Develop a home escape plan with your family. Make sure you know two ways out of each room and have a pre-designated meeting place. It is recommended that you practice your escape plan at least twice a year.

         · Make sure your smoke alarm is in good working order. Push the test button at least once a month, change the battery annually and remember that all smoke alarm units should be replaced every 10 years.

    Monday, February 4, 2013

    It Is Burn Awareness Week! Scalds - A Burning Issue

    Scald injuries are painful and require prolonged treatment.  They may result in lifelong scarring and even death.  In conjunction with Burn Awareness Week, February 3 – 9, the American Burn Association and Montgomery County Fire and Rescue are providing information relating to scald burns in an effort to prevent this terrible burn injury from occurring.   

    Although anyone can sustain a scald burn infants, young children, older adults and people with disabilities are more likely to be scalded. 
    Did you know that tap water scalds are often more severe than cooking-related scalds?  Our partner in safety, The American Burn Association, recommends the following simple safety tips to decrease the risk to yourself and those you love from tap water scalds.

    • Set home water heater thermostats to deliver water at a temperature no higher than 120
    degrees Fahrenheit.  An easy method to test this is to allow hot water to run for three to five minutes, then test with a candy, meat or water thermometer.  Adjust the water heater and wait a day to let the temperature drop.  Re-test and re-adjust as necessary.

    • Provide constant adult supervision of young children or anyone who may experience
    difficulty removing themselves from hot water on their own.  Gather all necessary supplies before placing a child in the tub, and keep them within easy reach.

    • Fill tub to desired level before getting in.  Run cold water first, then add hot.  Turn off the hot water first.  This can prevent scalding in case someone should fall in while the tub is filling.  Mix the water thoroughly and check the temperature by moving your elbow, wrist or hand with spread fingers through the water before allowing someone to get in.

    • Install grab bars, shower seats or non-slip flooring in tubs or showers if the person is
    unsteady or weak.

    • Avoid flushing toilets, running water or using the dish- or clothes washer while anyone is showering.

    • Install anti-scald or tempering devices.  These heat sensitive instruments stop or interrupt the flow of water when the temperature reaches a pre-determined level and prevent hot water that is too hot from coming out of the tap.  

    Cooking-related scalds are also easy to prevent.  Some things you can do to make your home safer from cooking-related burns include:

    • Establish a “kid zone” out of the traffic path between the stove and sink where children
    can safely play and still be supervised.  Keep young children in high chairs or play yards, a safe distance from counter- or stovetops, hot liquids, hot surfaces or other cooking hazards.

    • Cook on back burners when young children are present.  Keep all pot handles turned back, away from the stove edge.  All appliance cords should be coiled and away from the counter edge.  During mealtime, place hot items in the center of the table, at least 10 inches from the table edge.  Use non-slip placemats instead of tablecloths if toddlers are present.  Never drink or carry hot liquids while carrying or holding a child.  Quick motions may cause spilling of the liquid onto the child. 

    Friday, February 1, 2013

    Updated Map of Water Rescue Incidents From Yesterday

    An updated map with a little more information as well as one additional event from January 30-31.

    View Water Rescues in a larger map