Saturday, February 28, 2015

Rookie Dinner

By: Battalion Chief David Polikoff 

Eating well at FS12-A
It has been a long standing tradition that when a rookie comes off probation, he/she will cook dinner for their shift. The rookie is to cook the dinner with their own hands and the meal will be free of charge for the shift. The rules the recruits are told in the academy, is that the meal will be good, creative and expensive.

This past Wednesday Firefighter Clinton Pfarr, Fire Station 12-A Shift, lived up to the tradition. On the menu was:

Prime rib
Crab cakes
Mashed potatoes
Fresh green beans

For desert Apple pie and Ice cream

Bravo Firefighter Pfarr and congratulations on coming off probation.

Friday, February 27, 2015

House Fire On Norwood Road in Olney

On Friday, February 27 at approximately 5:30 a.m. MCFRS Units were dispatched for a reported house fire at 17734 Norwood Road in Olney. Firefighters from Sandy Spring Fire Station #4 were first to arrive and reported a fire in the attic of a large single-family home.

The only occupant of the home, an adult female, was quickly located and indicated that she was awakened to the smoke alarms sounding and discovered moderate smoke in the house. She told Fire Investigators she heard the sound of something cracking and at that point initiated the 911 call for assistance.  

First arriving Firefighters began an aggressive interior fire attack to extinguish the visible fire. At this point the fire had extended throughout the attic and through the roof. Additional fire/rescue resources were requested and dispatched to the scene which eventually escalated to a 2nd Alarm with approximately 100 fire/rescue personnel on scene.

The bulk of the fire was brought under control quickly although firefighters spent several hours working on extinguishing remaining “hot spots" and overhaul. In addition, personnel dealt with cold weather issues and frozen fire hydrants as temperatures hovered around twenty degrees.  The MCFRS Medical Ambulance Bus (MAB) was utilized on scene and assisted with warmth & rehab for firefighters. 

One firefighter did sustain a minor shoulder injury.  As well, the occupant of the home, an adult female, was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries as a result of smoke inhalation.         

Fire Investigators arrived on scene to conduct a cause and origin investigation.  Preliminary, the fire appears to have started in the attic over the fireplace.  Investigators determined that the cause appeared to be a compromised flue in the chimney/accidental.

Damages were estimated at $350k to the structure and $150k to the contents.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ice & Cold Weather Safety Tips

Each year, many residents are injured during the winter months as a result of pedestrian accidents and from exposure in cold water incidents. Skaters fall through the ice; boaters and canoeists overturn their crafts and pedestrians are struck walking in roadways because sidewalks
are snow covered.

Here are a few general guidelines for use by winter recreation enthusiasts to lessen their chances for an icy dip or worse. It's impossible to judge the strength of ice by its appearance, thickness, daily temperature, or snow cover alone. Ice strength is also dependent on water depth under the ice, the size of the water and water chemistry, currents, and distribution of the load on the ice.



  • Act quickly and call 9-1-1 for help immediately. Make sure properly trained and equipped rescue personnel are alerted to respond.
  • DO NOT go out onto the ice. Many times would-be rescuers become victims themselves.
  • Reach, Throw, or Row. Extend a branch, pole or ladder to the victim. Throw them a buoyant object such as a life ring or float tied to a rope. If a boat is nearby row out to the victim or push it toward them.


  • Any water that is cooler than normal body temperature (98.6 degrees F) is by definition "cold water"
  • Cold water drains away body heat 25 to 30 times faster than air!
  • The lower the temperature of the water, the faster the onset of hypothermia.


  • Hypothermia is the excessive lowering of body temperature. A drop n core temperature below 95 degrees F., causes shivering, confusion, loss of muscle strength, and if not treated and reversed leads to unconsciousness and death.
  • Safety experts estimate that half of all drowning victims die from the fatal effects of hypothermia and cold water, not the fatal effects from water filled lungs.


  • Slippery driveways and sidewalks can be particularly hazardous in the winter. Keep them well shoveled, and apply materials such as rock salt or sand to improve traction.
  • Be especially careful crossing the street and wear appropriate shoes and brightly colored (not white) clothing while walking in snowy conditions.
  • Use reflective clothing or stickers for maximum protection, especially at dawn and dusk.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hear Us, See Us, Clear for Us!

“Please Abide – Pull Aside”

Do you know what to do when approached by an emergency vehicle? The metropolitan area is often crowded and congested with traffic conditions caused by commuters, collisions, work zones and sometimes just “normal” traffic.

Emergency vehicles are impacted by these conditions, as well. When somebody calls 911 for help – the men and women of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service respond. How can everyday drivers help us to help you? – Normally drivers will HEAR us first, next they will SEE us, and then we need drivers to CLEAR for us.


C – L – E – A – R for emergency vehicles.

– Calmly pull to and as close to the edge of the roadway as possible and stop.

– Leave room. Keep intersections clear and never try to follow emergency vehicles.

E – Enter into traffic with caution after the emergency vehicle has passed. Remember to use signals.

A – Aware (be). Be aware of your surroundings. Keep radio volume low and check rear view mirrors frequently.

R – Remain stopped until the emergency vehicle has passed. Be mindful that there may be additional emergency vehicles approaching.

When approached by an emergency vehicle – the law says to pull over to the closest parallel edge of the roadway and yield the right of way to the emergency vehicle. An emergency vehicle is one with an audible siren and/or siren and emergency flashing lights. When driving and approaching an emergency scene – slow down and move over. In other words - “Give us a brake!”

Reduce the risk of an accident near an emergency scene and around emergency equipment.

Stay alert – expect anything to occur when approaching emergency vehicles.

Pay close attention – watch for police or fire direction.

Turn on your headlights – let on scene workers and other motorists see you.
Don’t tailgate – unexpected stops frequently occur near emergency scenes.

Don’t speed – slow down.

Keep up with the traffic flow – dedicate your full attention to the roadway and those traveling around you.

Minimize distractions – avoid changing radio stations and using mobile cell phones while approaching these areas.

Expect the unexpected – keep an eye out for emergency workers and their equipment.

Be patient – remember, firefighters and EMT’s have been called to the scene and are working to help someone.

In Montgomery County pedestrian and traffic safety issues are front and center. If you travel by car or are a pedestrian, please place extra emphasis on safety. Simply looking both ways before crossing a street, crossing in a crosswalk, spending a few extra seconds to cinch the belt on your child's safety seat, or delaying departure to ensure you get enough rest before a long trip can make all the difference. Preventative safety, while measured in seconds or minutes, can save you from months or years of anguish, grief, and "what if". Be smart. Be safe.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Fireplace and Wood Burning Safety

Several recent fires in Montgomery County have been the result of misplaced fireplace/wood stove ashes.  Please keep ashes AWAY from your home!

Fireplace and wood-stove ashes retain enough heat to ignite other combustible materials for several days after a fire. It is important to learn the following ways to ash candispose of fireplace and wood-stove ashes properly:
  • DO NOT discard your ashes into any combustible container like a paper or plastic bag, a cardboard box, or a plastic trash can.
  • DO put ashes into a non-combustible metal container with a lid.
  • DO pour water into the container to make sure the ashes are cool.
  • DO keep your can OUTSIDE the home, away from combustibles.
  • DO teach all family members to be safe with ashes from your fireplace or wood stove.
As always, please make sure you test your smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries twice a year. Practice and plan a family home escape plan.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Yellowstone Way House Fire

Around 730 pm 2/20 units from Montgomery County, MD Fire & Rescue arrived on the scene of 2-story single family house & encountered heavy fire conditions. A Rapid Intervention Dispatch & a Task Force were dispatched to assist. About 75 Firefighters were on scene. One Firefighter was injured. All occupants got out. Damage was significant.

Friday, February 20, 2015


Exposure to cold without adequate protection can result in frostbite. Parents can protect their children by following these precautions:
  • Dress children warmly. Several thin layers will help keep children dry as well as warm. Clothing should consist of thermal long johns, turtlenecks, one or two shirts, pants, sweater, coat, warm socks, boots, gloves or mittens, and a hat.
  • Set reasonable time limits on outdoor play. Call children in periodically to warm up with drinks such as hot chocolate.
  • When possible, avoid taking infants outdoors when it is colder than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Infants lose body heat quickly.
If a child complains of numbness or pain in the fingers, toes, nose, cheeks or ears while playing in the snow, or if his skin is blistered, hard to the touch or glossy, be alerted to the possibility of frostbite and take the following steps:
  • Take the child indoors.
  • Call a doctor.
  • Tell the child to wiggle the affected body part(s) to increase blood supply to that area.
  • Warm the frozen part(s) against the body. Hold fingers to the chest, for example.
  • Immerse frozen part(s) in warm, not hot, water. Frozen tissue is fragile and can be damaged easily. Avoid warming with high heat from radiators, fireplaces or stoves, and avoid rubbing or breaking blisters.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Winter Fires: Safety Tips for Home Heating

With cold weather upon us, it is a good time to remind everyone of some simple steps to help prevent a heating related fire in your home.

The high cost of home heating fuels and utilities have caused many Americans to search for alternate sources of home heating. The use of woodburning stoves is growing and space heaters are selling rapidly, or coming out of storage. Fireplaces are burning wood and manmade logs.

All these methods of heating may be acceptable. They are, however, a major contributing factor in residential fires. Many of these fires can be prevented. The following fire safety tips can help you maintain a fire safe home this winter.

Kerosene Heaters

  • Be sure your heater is in good working condition. Inspect exhaust parts for carbon buildup. Be sure the heater has an emergency shut off in the event the heater is tipped over.
  • Never use fuel burning appliances without proper room venting. Burning fuel (coal, kerosene, or propane, for example) can produce deadly fumes.
  • Use ONLY the fuel recommended by the heater manufacturer. NEVER introduce a fuel into a unit not designed for that type fuel.
  • Keep kerosene, or other flammable liquids stored in approved metal containers, in well ventilated storage areas, outside of the house.
  • NEVER fill the heater while it is operating or hot. When refueling an oil or kerosene unit, avoid overfilling. DO NOT use cold fuel for it may expand in the tank as it warms up.
  • Refueling should be done outside of the home (or outdoors). Keep children, pets and clothing away from heaters.
  • When using a fuel burning appliance in the bedroom, be sure there is proper ventilation to prevent a buildup of carbon monoxide.

Wood Stove and Fireplaces

Wood stoves and fireplaces are becoming a very common heat source in homes. Careful attention to safety can minimize fire hazards.
To use them safely:
  • Be sure the fireplace or stove is installed properly. Wood stoves should have adequate clearance (36 inches) from combustible surfaces and proper floor support and protection.
  • Wood stoves should be of good quality, solid construction and design, and should be UL listed.
  • Have the chimney inspected annually and cleaned if necessary, especially if it has not been used for some time.
  • Do not use flammable liquids to start or accelerate any fire.
  • Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace opening, to prevent embers or sparks from escaping, unwanted material from going in, and to help prevent the possibility of burns to occupants.
  • The stove should be burned hot twice a day for 15-30 minutes to reduce the amount of creosote buildup.
  • Don't use excessive amounts of paper to build roaring fires in fireplaces. It is possible to ignite creosote in the chimney by overbuilding the fire.
  • Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal can give off lethal amounts of carbon monoxide.
  • Keep flammable materials away from your fireplace mantel. A spark from the fireplace could easily ignite theses materials.
  • Before you go to sleep, be sure your fireplace fire is out. NEVER close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper will help the fire to heat up again and will force toxic carbon monoxide into the house.
  • If synthetic logs are used, follow the directions on the package. NEVER break a synthetic log apart to quicken the fire or use more than one log at a time. They often burn unevenly, releasing higher levels of carbon monoxide.

Furnace Heating

It is important that you have your furnace inspected annually to ensure that it is in good working condition.
  • Be sure all furnace controls and emergency shutoffs are in proper working condition.
  • Leave furnace repairs to qualified specialists. Do not attempt repairs yourself unless you are qualified.
  • Inspect the walls and ceiling near the furnace and along the chimney line. If the wall is hot or discolored, additional pipe insulation or clearance may be required.
  • Check the flue pipe and pipe seams. Are they well supported and free of holes and cracks? Soot along or around seams may be an indicator of a leak.
  • All unused flue openings should be sealed with solid masonry.
  • Keep trash and other combustibles away from the heating system.

Other Fire Saftey Tips

  • Never discard hot ashes inside or near the home. Place them in a metal container outside and well away from the house.
  • Never use a range or an oven as a supplemental heating device. Not only is it a safety hazard, it can be a source of potentially toxic fumes.
  • If you use an electric heater, be sure not to overload the circuit. Only use extension cords which have the necessary rating to carry an amp load.
    TIP: Choose an extension cord the same size or larger than the appliance electrical cord.
  • Place heaters at least three feet away from objects such as bedding, furniture and drapes. Never use heaters to dry clothes or shoes. Do not place heaters where towels or other objects could fall on the heater and start a fire.
  • Be certain that your heater is placed on a level, hard and nonflammable surface, not on rugs or carpets.
  • Use heaters on the floor. Never place heaters on furniture, since they may fall, dislodging or breaking parts in the heater, which could result in a fire or shock hazard.
  • Keep all heaters in safe working conditions. Never operate a defective heater.
  • Avoid using electrical space heaters in bathrooms or other areas where they may come in contact with water.
  • Frozen water pipes? Never try to thaw them with a blow torch or other open flame, otherwise the pipe could conduct the heat and ignite the wall structure inside the wall space. Use hot water or a UL-labeled device such as a hand held dryer for thawing and it is recommended that you consult with a qualified professional.
  • If windows are used as emergency exits in your home, practice using them in the event fire should strike. Be sure that all the windows open easily. Home escape ladders are recommended.
  • If there is a fire hydrant near your home you can assist the fire department by keeping the hydrant clear of snow so in the event it is needed, it can be located.
  • Do not run cords under rugs or carpets. Placing anything on top of the cord could cause the cord to overheat and result in a fire.


  • Be sure every level of your home has a working smoke alarm, and check and clean it on a monthly basis. In addition, have a carbon monoxide alarm outside each sleeping area.
  • Plan and practice a home escape plan with your family.
  • Contact your local fire department for advice if you have a question on home fire safety or to schedule for a free home safety inspection.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Hillmead Road House Fire 2/18 - 2 Alarm

Montgomery County firefighters battled a stubborn gas fed fire in a large Bethesda home. About 10:45 am on Wednesday, February 18 a neighbor called 911 to report a house on fire. First arriving Firefighters encountered heavy fire in the basement. The fire extended throughout the house via walls, ceilings and void spaces. No one was home at the time.

The house is valued at nearly $2 million and suffered significant damage.


Acting Fire Chief Goldstein is pleased to announce the following promotions:

The following personnel have been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant: 

  • Anthony J. Veith III
  • Erin C. Wirth
  • Irvin C. Smith Jr
  • Wesley C. Owens 

The following person has been promoted to the rank of Master Firefighter:

  • Wilson C. Owens

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Do Not Forget To Clear Snow From Around Fire Hydrants!

Please remember to clear away snow from fire hydrants near your home or business. Having hydrants already cleared saves vital minutes and can mean the difference between life and death. Take your time and do not over exert yourself.

Monday, February 16, 2015

MCFRS Recruiting Section Hiring Update

Unfortunately, due to budgetary constraints, MCFRS will not hire a recruit class in 2015.  The current eligibility list is set to expire in June of 2015.  Pending budgetary approval, we anticipate having an entry level exam in the Fall of 2015 to establish a new eligibility list. 

We encourage you to visit the MCFRS Recruiting Section website and Facebook page often for updates about future employment opportunities.   

Thank you for your continued interest in MCFRS employment opportunities.

Contact the Recruiting Team: 

Facebook Follow us on Facebook
240.777.2238 (voice mail only)

Volunteer With Us!

Montgomery County Maryland has a long and proud tradition of neighbors serving neighbors by volunteering at one our many local fire rescue departments. Find out more at

Friday, February 13, 2015

Recent Recalls

On Thursday our partners in safety, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, announced several recalls that I wanted to make you aware of.

Please take a moment to review the below recalls and pass along to anyone you feel may benefit from this information. Certainly take a moment to make sure you do not have any of these items in your home.  If you do, please follow the instructions as to actions to take.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Chief Goldstein Speaking at PSTA Groundbreaking

It was a great day to celebrate the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Public Safety Training Academy (PSTA) yesterday.  The new training facility will replace the current PSTA which was built in 1973.

The training facility construction will include: 

119,334-gross-square-foot (GSF) Academic Building
4,850-GSF Fire Residential Training Building
11,300-GSF Fire Commercial Training Building
12,000-GSF High Bay and Fire Training Support Building
15,386-GSF Apparatus Building
6,000-GSF Canine Training Building
12,000-GSF Multi-use Cityscape Structure Training area
2,075-GSF Department of Transportation Vehicle Training Support Building
2,095-GSF Fuel Facility. 

Video and photos from the day below.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Preventing Frozen Fire Sprinkler Pipes

Automatic fire sprinkler systems have enjoyed an enviable record of protecting life and property for over 100 years.  Since early 2004, Council Bill #25-03 requires fire sprinkler systems be installed in all new single-family homes in Montgomery County.  Several years prior required fire sprinklers in newly built apartment/condo type residential homes as well as townhouses.  

Because of this critical life safety initiative, MCFRS knows there are a good number of single and multi family homes, along with commercial buildings, that are equipped with life-saving fire sprinkler systems. 

All people who live in homes with fire sprinklers, along with apartment/commercial building owners and management companies, need to take time to ensure that these systems are protected against pipes freezing.  

Preventing Frozen Fire Sprinkler Pipes 
  • If fire sprinkler piping is exposed to outside temperatures, it should be heated or adequately insulated. 
  • Keep doors, garage doors, windows and vents closed when not in use as resulting drafts might allow cold air to contact the piping. Repair any broken windows, doors or any cracks in exterior walls that may be near any fire sprinkler piping.
  • Most fire sprinkler pipes are within the walls and/or ceilings of a home. Cold air can possibly enter these hidden spaces through small gaps in the exterior sheathing and insulation and find its way directly onto the fire sprinkler pipes. Try to find and repair these gaps.
  • In attics, the pipes should be as close to the ceiling as possible with insulation placed over the top of the sprinkler pipe.  Inspect the sprinkler pipes that are in the attic and if you see pipes exposed then they need to be insulated immediately.
  • Adequate heat should be provided to all areas by use of the existing heating system of the home rather than other means such as space heaters.
  • Do not use temporary heating equipment such as kerosene space heaters or other un-vented portable fuel-burning space heaters as these heaters can increase the risk of fire and potential health hazards such as Carbon Monoxide poisoning.
  • Do not use torches or other open flame devices to thaw pipes or other equipment.
  • In case a pipe bursts ensure all family members know the location of the water shut-off valve and the proper method to turn it off to minimize damage.
  • A lot of times expanding ice within the pipe can cause a crack but the ice will block the flow of water while it is frozen. In this situation, the water damage may not be apparent until after the ice melts and water is able to flow out of the cracked portion.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Precautions To Prevent Water Pipes From Freezing

Looks like another round of forecasted freezing lows hitting our area over the next several days. Again, we expect the potential of many water pipes freezing and bursting. Please review the below tips to help minimize the possibility or damage.

  • Shut off outside hose facets and drain 
  • Purchase a cover for the outside hose faucet - they are cheap and very effective 
  • Locate the main water shut off for your home so that if a pipe bursts, you can shut off the water thus stopping the leak and minimizing damage
  • Open cabinet doors in the kitchen and bathrooms to let heat in and around the plumbing.  Especially important if some of these pipes run up against outside walls.
  • Keep any garage doors closed if there are water pipes or supply lines in the garage.  If attached to home, consider opening the door to the garage to allow home heat to enter the garage.  While your heating bill may take a hit, the cost will not compare to costly repairs from water damage
  • DO NOT use kerosene or other fuel fed heating devices in the garage to heat it
  • Let water drip from faucets served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe (even at a dribble) can help prevent pipes from freezing
  • DO NOT use a blow torch or any other open flame to try and thaw out potentially frozen pipes!
  • Keep the thermostat set to no lower than 55° F during the evening hours or if you will be leaving the home for an extended period of time (day or night)

Monday, February 9, 2015

When 10 Years Is Too Old

Many homes in Montgomery County have smoke alarms that are too old.  All smoke alarms are manufactured to last 10 years.  Then they need to be replaced. Working smoke alarms can provide the critical early warning needed to save lives.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Local Brownie Troop Earns First Aid Merit Badge

Bethesda Fire Station #20 personnel helped the young ladies earn the First Aid Merit Badge. Great job girls!

Photo Courtesy of Captain Penny Ingles

Friday, February 6, 2015

Signs and Symptoms of Heart Attacks

A heart attack is a life-and-death emergency and every second counts. If you experience or see someone with any of the listed symptoms, immediately call 9-1-1. Not all these signs occur in every heart attack. Sometimes they go away and return. Heart attack victims can benefit from new medications and treatments unavailable to patients in years past. For example, clot-busting drugs can stop some heart attacks and strokes in progress, reducing disability and saving lives. But to be effective, these drugs must be given relatively quickly after heart attack or stroke symptoms first appear. So again, don't delay-get help right away! Call 9-1-1.

Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, but most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:
Chest discomfort:
Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

Discomfort in other areas of the upper body:
Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

Shortness of breath:
May occur with or without chest discomfort.

Other signs:
These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness
As with men, women's most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

If you or someone with you has chest discomfort, especially with one or more of the other signs, don't delay -call 9-1-1 immediately.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Reality Show Star Stops by Fire Station 6

By: Captain Marc Worton
       Fire Station 06 - B Shift

On Sunday February 1st, the crew from Fire Station 6 in Bethesda had a guest stop by for some football and some stories. Parker Schnabel, the young man from the Discovery Channel show Gold Rush, was in town filming. He stopped by Station 6 and spent some time hanging out with the guys and watching some football. It was a pleasure spending time with him.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Clothes Dryer Fire Safety Tips

Clothes dryer

While most home appliances are used without incident, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 15,500 fires associated with clothes dryers occur annually, causing an average of 10 deaths, 310 injuries and more than $84.4 million in property damage. A lack of maintenance, buildup of lint, placing inappropriate items in the dryer and inadequate venting are frequently cited as contributing factors.

Did You Know?

  • The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that 15,500 clothes dryer fires occur annually, causing an average of 10 deaths, 310 injuries and more than $84.4 million in property damage.
  • Eighty-percent of American homes have clothes dryers.
  • A full load of wet clothes placed in a dryer contains about one half gallon of water. As the clothes dry, lint forms and builds up, reducing airflow in the dryer's vent, potentially causing the dryer to work improperly or overheat.

Clothes Dryer DOs:

  • DO clean the lint screen/filter before or after drying EACH load of clothes.
  • DO clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct periodically.
  • DO have a certified service technician clean and inspect the dryer and venting system regularly.
  • DO replace plastic or vinyl exhaust hoses with rigid or flexible metal venting, which provides maximum airflow.
  • DO keep the area around the dryer clean and free from clutter.
  • Always use the appropriate electrical outlet for dryers and all major appliances.

Clothes Dryer DON'Ts:

  • DON'T place clothing or fabric stained with a flammable substance, such as alcohol, cooking oils, gasoline, spot removers or motor oil, in the dryer. Flammable substances give off vapors that could ignite or explode. Instead, dry the materials outdoors.
  • DON'T leave a dryer operating if you are not home.
  • DON'T forget to read the manufacturer warnings in the user manual and on the inside of the dryer door
  • DON'T dry any item containing foam, rubber or plastic, such as bathroom and non-slip rugs and athletic shoes.
  • DON'T dry any item that contains glass fiber materials, such as a blouse or sweater with glass buttons or decorations.
  • DON'T overload the dryer with wet clothes.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Apartment Fire 5114 Dudley Lane

On Sunday (2/1/2015), at approximately 3:10 a.m., MCFRS units responded for a reported building fire at 5114 Dudley Lane in Bethesda. A guest at the nearby Pooks Hill Marriott (across street) called 911 to report the fire as it was first visible on the outside of the building.

Units arrived on the scene to find fire coming from the dryer vent exhaust on one side of the four story building.  The visible fire was quickly extinguished.  While checking for extension of the fire, crews found considerable fire in the void spaces -- duct work in walls, ceiling & floors and concealed areas -- on the 2nd and 3rd floors in between several apartments.  The initial alarm assignment eventually reached two alarms plus a task force which brought approximately 150 firefighters to the scene.

Smoke alarms did sound and residents safely self-evacuated with no resident injuries reported.  As well sprinklers activated and protected several living spaces in the building.

Fire Investigators conducted an origin and cause investigation and concluded the fire was accidental with the probable cause being a blocked dryer vent overheating which caused combustibles to ignite.

The Red Cross also was on scene and assisted several families.  Fire Inspectors posted three occupied apartments, 1 model unit and the leasing office as unsafe.  Two firefighters sustained minor injuries.  Damage estimates were $600K to the structure and $400K to contents.  

Clothes Dryer Cleaning Day – Preventing A Potential Fire In Your Home!

Recently, MCFRS personnel have responded to several fires involving clothes dryers.  One way to prevent these fires is to clean in and around your clothes dryer at least once a year.

Last year I cleaned my clothes dryer and, as you can see by the pictures below, there was a ton of lint build up in, on, and around my clothes dryer. These pictures show why it is very important you take time to clean both inside and outside the clothes dryer.

A couple of pictures show what happens to the inside of your pipe that runs in and just outside your dryer (Fig 1) that carries the hot air, and lint, out. The next photo (Fig 2) shows the inside of the flexible duct that connects to your dryer pipe and then connects to another pipe that usually runs to the outside of your house.

In the next photo (Fig 3) you can see the cleaning device I used to run up into the pipe and dryer and the large amount of lint I pulled out of the dryer. These photos clearly show the large amount of lint that builds up and can, when heated up by the hot air of the dryer, actually ignite and catch fire! The more the build up, the better chance for ignition and then – a fire in your home!

A couple of the photos (Fig 4 & 5) clearly show just how dusty and dirty the back of your dryer and the floor behind and underneath it can become. This also can create problems and hazards and you need to make sure you clean these spots as well!

For more tips please go here: 
Clothes Dryer Fire Safety Tips

As always Be Safe! 

dryer pipe
Fig 1
flexible duct
Fig 2

cleaning device and lint removed
Fig 3
back of dryer
Fig 4

Floor under dryer
Fig 5