The fire began at approximately 6 a.m. on Saturday and resulted in the death of one woman and the injury of at least 15 people, including three firefighters. There were also three pets that perished in the fire, according to the county’s Fire & Rescue Service.
Over 100 firefighters responded to the three-alarm fire, which started in the living room of a seventh-floor apartment.
A sprinkler system would have prevented the fire if the units had been equipped with one, according to Maryland State Fire Marshal Brian Geraci. “We would not have had any of the deaths, we would not have had any of the injuries, and had all of these folks displaced from their units,” Geraci said in an interview with WUSA9.
Geraci says that a single sprinkler head in the unit could have activated with the heat and extinguished the flames or subdued them until emergency personnel arrived. “It reduces the smoke, it reduces the heat, and everything else in this case,” he said.
The Maryland state code was modified in 2019 to require sprinklers on all high-rise buildings by 2033. Geraci said the Arrive Silver Spring is one of 80 buildings in the county that have yet to be retrofitted.
The cause of the fire has not been disclosed, but officials have indicated that it was not caused by an explosion. The county’s Department of Health and Human Services is assisting displaced residents, along with the Red Cross, Montgomery County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein said in a Saturday media briefing.
“We typically find, especially in a disaster, people tend to spread out,” Patrick Campbell, senior emergency manager for Mass Care and Recovery at the county’s Department of Health and Human Services, said to DCNewsNow. “And sometimes, most often that virtual outreach works out a lot better.”
For residents displaced by the recent incident in Silver Spring at the Arrive apartments: two ways to connect with @MoCoDHHS for questions or assistance is to email: [email protected] or call/text +1 (240) 447-2693 pic.twitter.com/89e90pe6QO
— Patrick M. Campbell (@Patrickcamp100) February 20, 2023
The estimated damage caused by the fire has topped $1 million.
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