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Townhouse Fire & Collapse Injures Eight Firefighters

Eight Montgomery County firefighters suffered injuries as the front wall of a townhouse collapsed on them as they were making entry into the burning building early Monday morning.

Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service units were called to 19350 Churubusco Lane in Germantown for a fire in a middle-of-the-row townhouse shortly after 1:00 am Monday, March 14. Arriving units encountered heavy fire on arrival.

According to MCFRS senior spokesman Pete Piringer, as firefighters were beginning to enter the building to fight the fire the building began to collapse. Piringer said he believes the collapse began in the rear of the building, but as the structural integrity was lost due to fire, the rest of the building came down. The front wall of the structure came down on a number of firefighters attempting to make entry, including some on ladders to the second floor.

Piringer said seven firefighters suffered minor injuries, but an eighth suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries as a result of the collapse. He said many of the firefighters were transported to local hospitals where they were treated at local hospitals and have been released.

All occupants of the fire building were able to exit the building safely. However, at least, 18 people will be displaced. The unit at 19350 Churubusco Lane has been completely destroyed, and the adjoining units were damaged by the fire, and also suffered smoke and water damage. Two more units in the townhouse row, two down from the fire unit also suffered water damage, according to Piringer. Building Inspectors are going to inspect all affected units prior to allowing re-occupancy.

Piringer said MCFRS would bring in heavy equipment was being called in to move large debris to make sure all hot spots in the fire unit are extinguished.