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Apartment Blaze Displaces 100, Sends 10 to Hospital

Firefighters spent two and a half hours Tuesday afternoon putting out the bulk of the blaze in a Piney Branch Road apartment complex.

A fast-moving fire in a Silver Spring apartment building Tuesday afternoon trapped several people, sent 10 to the hospital and displaced more than 100, NBC reported.

Altogether, 18 apartments of the complex in the 9300 block of Piney Branch Road, Silver Spring, were ruined by fire, smoke or water damage, NBC Washington reported in a video clip.

The fire originated in an electrical outlet near a mattress, according to the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, which was assisted by firefighters from Prince George's County, Howard County and Washington, DC, in putting out the fire.

After the mattress ignited, flames spread to upper floors of the apartment building through a pipe chase, according to a rescue service news advisory. In NBC Washington's video clip, massive flames burst out of windows and the roof of the building.

Firefighters began fighting the blaze shortly after 3:45 p.m. Tuesday and brought it under control in about two and a half hours, the rescue service reported.

Ten people—including three firefighters—were transported to area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries, the rescue service said.

The fire caused about $1 million in structural damages to the building, and about $500,000 in damages to the building's contents. The American Red Cross set up temporary operations at the Long Branch Community Recreation Center to help displaced residents, the rescue service added.
ROBERT SCHROEDER August 29, 2013 at 09:59 AM
They all are in my prayers, but what caused the electrical fire? Bad wiring/overloaded wiring?
Cheri Clark August 29, 2013 at 01:08 PM
I had the same question. Electrical outlets just don't ignite for no reason. My bed has been next to an electrical outlet all my 62 yrs., wherever I've lived. Isn't everyone's?
Laura L Thornton August 29, 2013 at 01:17 PM
The only information that fire officials have been able to ascertain is that the mattress was pushed up against the outlet, and that any type of spark could have set the fire off, according to Chief Scott Graham of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Squad. Everything was destroyed near the ignition location, so that's about all that can be determined, Chief Graham said.
ROBERT SCHROEDER August 29, 2013 at 01:44 PM
Same here I have surge protectors all over my apartment with 6 outlets [I got a battery powered back up for my computer only [was told by Verizon that modems come with their own backup & protection]], & I never had a fire in any apartments. Yes, I now remember that 1 time someone says not to push things like chairs tables beds [etc] close to an outlet, thank Laura.
Laura L Thornton August 29, 2013 at 01:46 PM
I still remember my parents putting what we called "child protectors"—little plastic covers that plug into the outlets—into the outlets when my little brother was starting to crawl. My bed is against an outlet, too, so I put the child protector things into the outlet when I moved into my apartment. Now, I'm going to keep that mattress an inch or so away from the outlet, too.

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