Fire ignites Burtonsville apartment building
Updated: July 13, 2012 - 05:46 pm
Dozens of people have been displaced from their homes and 17 people had to be rescued after a fire broke out in a Burtonsville apartment building on Friday morning, officials say.
Montgomery County Fire officials say approximately 100 firefighters responded to the 14000 block of Castle Boulevard near the border of Silver Spring. The fire started just after 7:20 a.m. Friday.
An electrical short in an outlet in a ground-floor apartment seems to be the cause of the fire, officials say, which caused $1.5 million in damage.
One resident, Clifford Barney, said the same thing happened in his apartment last month and he videotaped it.
"They came and fixed it they know what happened, they said it was just a short but literally you could see white sparks,” Barney says.
A representative of the management company told ABC7 they have had several complaints over the past months of faulty electrical outlets and they've all been repaired. But there were no open work orders at the time of the fire.
Upon arrival, crews found heavy fire on the ground floor of the building, officials say. The fire had also spread to the upper floors, stranding several residents, who firefighters rescued using ladders. Only minor injuries were reported, officials say.
More than 70 people have been displaced from the three apartment buildings affected by the flames, Montgomery County Fire officials say. In total, 36 apartments were damaged, 12 of which suffered fire damage. Red Cross is working on helping those displaced.
Margeriute Newman, 78, was trapped with her best friend of 17 years Lulu, her trusted dog. She told fire fighters that they needed to first save her dog.
Firefighters had to rescue her from her window. Firefighters carried Lulu but Newman climbed down on her own.
Barney said the fire engulfed his building in a matter of seconds. Barney says he could only stand and watch as everything his family owned went up in flames.
“It was terrifying seeing our neighbors, them and their three kids, on the balcony,” Barney says. “Firefighters had to get them down cause they couldn't run through that anymore."
Units from multiple fire agencies, including trucks from Laurel, Branchville, College Park, Beltsville and Berwyn Heights, responded to the fire.
ABC 7's Brianne Carter and Mark Segraves contributed to this report.
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