Transformer fire closes Bethesda high-rise apartment building
Evan Lambert, FOX5
BETHESDA, Md. (WTTG FOX5) – A fire at a Bethesda high rise affected nearly 500 units, forcing the displacement of about 1000 residents Saturday morning.
Montgomery County Fire Rescue officials say the fire started around 9 a.m. in an underground garage at the Promenade Apartments off Pooks Hill Road.
A transformer appears to have blown, which sent smoke billowing up the 18-story building. The fire impacted only one of the towers in the complex. Although the fire was contained to the garage, power and water are out in the north tower, which forced the evacuations.
Cedric Dana was preparing to head out to go grocery shopping when the fire started.
“I was just sitting in my car, clipping some coupons before I went and then all of the sudded a loud boom happened and the power went out,” said Dana.
The county set up a shelter in Silver Spring for those displaced, but many chose to stay with friends or family. Residents have been told it could be up to a week before they will be able to get back into the building.
“It ruins your weekend for sure,” said Charles Pekow.
Fire officials say no major injuries were reported. Six people were treated for smoke inhalation and one firefighter for treatment for heat exhaustion.