Multi-Alarm Apartment Fire on Piney Branch Road

27th August 2013

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This fire will go down as one of the most significant in the history of TPVFD.

At 15:45 units were dispatched to the Forest Park Apartment complex at 9300 Piney Branch Road for the report of an apartment fire.

While responding, units were advised by Montgomery that there were multiple people trapped.

Engine 702, with two volunteers supplementing the career staff, was the second engine on scene and the crew split up, assisting Truck 716 with rescues via ground ladders while also hooking up a hose to Engine 716.

Seven people were rescued by the first arriving units.

FF Bearne and FF O’Brien of TPVFD, led by Lieutenant Cook, took the hoseline into the initial fire apartment to back up E716’s line.

They were faced with heavy fire and smoke and both crews eventually had to withdraw after running low on air.

The fire was spreading rapidly even before units arrived, with the truck company reporting smoke showing from the roofline.

Eventually the roof membrane also caught fire and by that stage the effort to contain it would become massive.

Although officially only two alarms were called for, with the eventual arrival of units from Montgomery, Prince George’s and Howard county units as well as firefighters from the District of Columbia it had reached the equivalent of four alarms.

It took firefighters disassembling much of the roof and hitting the fire from above before it was finally extinguished, almost five hours later.

Thanks to the efforts of the firefighters on scene, everyone was rescued with only minor injuries.

The seven civilians were all taken to hospital along with three firefighters who were transported with heat exhaustion.

Our thoughts are still with the residents of the building though, all of whom lost their homes.