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.