OLNEY, MD. (WUSA9) - Residents of an Olney townhome complex are back picking up the pieces after a two-alarm fire late Friday night.
When Keon Shim returned Saturday morning, the uneaten meatloaf they were about to eat for dinner was still on the table. He and his family, including his five-year-old son, ran for safety as the winds helped the fire spread quickly.
"My wife smelled smoke, and gratefully enough one of our neighbors’ sons came and banged on the door and said there was fire, so we ran out," Shim said. "It was very scary because the fire was already full force and all the embers were flying from the wind and they were landing all over the yard. As you can see there is debris everywhere."
The fire broke out on the 3500 block of Softwood Terrace in Maryland. Fire officials in Montgomery County confirmed that the townhouse where the fire originated suffered a partial collapse. The fire then spread to other homes.
Update - 2nd Alarm, Softwood Ter, fire involving several townhouses, townhouse of origin w/ partial structural collapse pic.twitter.com/1SIfsNPPqP— Pete Piringer (@mcfrsPIO) January 6, 2018
The fire was caused by a dangerous mistake, according to the officials, who said someone inside the townhome used flammable liquid to restart a fire in their fireplace.
Twenty people were displaced. The American Red Cross is providing assistance.
The fire caused more than a million dollars in damage.
But firefighters weren't just battling flames overnight. Fire Spokesman Pete Piringer shared photos of fire gear frozen due to the bitter cold.
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