Updated at 1:15 p.m. with information about an assistance fund established by the Silver Spring nonprofit Montgomery Housing Partnership.
At least 89 apartments have been condemned following a fire on Saturday morning at the Arrive Silver Spring apartment complex in downtown Silver Spring.
Fire officials declared the apartments as ‘unsafe to occupy’ following the fire that started in the living room of a seventh-floor unit.
The three-alarm fire began at approximately 6 a.m. Saturday and resulted in the death of one woman and the injury of at least 15 others, including three firefighters. There were also three pets that perished in the fire, according to officials.
Investigators believe that the fire was accidental and that its cause has not yet been determined.
An in-unit 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.
A single sprinkler head in the unit could have activated with the heat, which would have extinguished or subdued the flames 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.
Damages estimated at $2 million were caused by the fire, according to officials. A GoFundMe campaign established for the family of 25-year-old Melanie Diaz, who died in the fire with her dogs Samantha and Ella, has exceeded $17,000.
In addition, the Silver Spring nonprofit organization Montgomery Housing Partnership has established a fund to assist residents displaced by the fire.
Photo: Pete Piringer / Twitter