Early Morning Fire at Recycling Facility Burns for 40 Hours, Snarls Traffic
UPDATE: MCFRS officials declared the fire to be "out" at about 7:00 pm on Thursday, Aug. 16, a full 40 hours after the initial call was received. Units and personnel remained on the scene for an additional four hours cleaning up conducting an investigation.
UPDATE: At 11:30 am on Wednesday, Aug 15, MCFRS reopened MD-355/Frederick Road to traffic.
Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service units responded early Wednesday morning to a fire at a large warehouse building, which houses a construction material recycling facility in Clarksburg. The fire quickly grew to two alarms as firefighters encountered heavy fire throughout the facility.
The fire forced the closure of a 3.5-mile swath of MD-355 in both directions between Old Hundred Road/MD-109 and Clarksburg Road/MD-121. The fire building is just north of Comus Road. The road closure and the proximity to the highway created a 10-mile backup on I-270 during the morning commute. As of 11:00 am Frederick Road remained closed in both directions, as firefighters continued to battle the fire and its aftermath.
The initial call came in about 3:00 am Wednesday morning, fire officials reported that more than 75 firefighters were battling the blaze in the 45,000-square-foot building at 24120 Frederick Road. The building is situated on a narrow area between MD-355 and can be easily seen from I-270.
The large and smokey fire filled the area with thick black smoke for hours Wednesday morning. Residents are reporting being able to smell the fire from as far away as Damascus as smoke blew northward. Complicating firefighting efforts is the fact that the building is in a non-hydrant area. MCFRS has set up tanker operations, using four water tankers to bring water from nearby hydrants to fill four portable water pools which are then used to douse the fire. Due to the volume of fire and limited ability to suppress the fire, MCFRS has been forced to fight the fire using external operations, due to the significant collapse danger, according to Battalion Chief Dan Ogren, a spokesman for the MCFRS.