One Germantown street was the scene of a small fire and potential multiple home disaster on Monday afternoon.
A little before 3:00 pm on Monday, Aug. 7 Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service units were dispatched to Queen Cross Lane for the report of a small fire in the utility room of a single family home. When MCFRS arrived the fire was out, but firefighters detected a strange odor in the house, according to Pete Piringer, senior spokesman for Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service.
Piringer said fire officials on scene called additional units to the scene including the Haz-Mat units. MCFRS officials checked what is known as the low-explosive levels in about 30 homes. Piringer said most homes showed very low or no readings but several homes had what officials called high levels of explosive readings.
“We were prepared to evacuate some homes, we had brought some buses in, but thankfully there weren’t many people home. The few people that were home just sort of hung around outside and remained at a safe difference, ” said Piringer. No injuries were reported.
Officials said evacuations did not happen and residents can return to their houses. Piringer said, “We believe the danger is now over.”
The Department of Environmental Protection and the Maryland Department of the Environment, along with Montgomery County Haz-Mat are on the scene and evaluating the situation. As of 6:00 pm, MCFRS units were working to ventilate a few homes.
Piringer said that the Maryland Department of Environment was investigating the incident to determine the source of the gasoline. “We think the weather probably had something to do with it. The large amount of rain we’ve had today elevated the capacity of the sewer. Our experience tells us that somebody probably dumped something in the sewer somewhere.” He said that the one house where the fire happened was at a lower area of the street.
Police and Fire Rescue had Queens Cross Lane closed between Staleybridge Road and St. Johnsbury Road for a few hours as the investigation proceeded.
Top: MCFRS and the Maryland Department of Environment are investigating how gasoline ended up in the neighborhood sewer line at Queens Cross Lane in Germantown and caused a small fire in one home this afternoon.
Next: Firefighters on scene at a home on Queens Town Lane after a small fire in a utility room was caused by gasoline being built up in a sewer line.
Next: Fire officials took readings from a number of houses on the street to determine the danger levels.
Photos courtesy MCFRS.