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Avenel Fire Displaces Family

Damage estimated at $3 million

More than 75 firefighters responded to two-alarm house fire on the 7100 block of Natelli Woods Lane in Avenel, that displaced a family of four.

At about 4:10 p.m. on Thursday, April 24, units from Montgomery County Fire and Rescue service responded to a 911 call from the home, according to the Fire and Rescue service. Occupants on the first floor of the home reported hearing a “pop” or “banging” noise coming from another area of the house and upon investigation found smoke coming from the walls and ceiling. Smoke alarms did activate, but the house had no sprinkler system. Three people were home at the time of the fire, and they all exited safely.

First arriving personnel encountered smoke coming from the single-family home.

“It was a big one,” said Eugene Roesser, spokesman for Cabin John station.

Cabin John Station responded along with crews from Rockville, Glen Echo, Bethesda, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue, Kensington, Chevy Chase and surrounding areas. It took about 45 minutes to contain the fire. “We got the extra manpower and that allowed us to contain it,” Roesser said.

The second alarm was sounded in order to get additional firefighters to the scene, Roesser said. One of the units which responded was the ladder truck from Cabin John Station 10. The county fire administrator had proposed de-staffing the truck during a round of budget cuts earlier this year, but the cuts were not made and funding for the truck was included in this year’s budget.

Investigators believe that the fire was accidental, probably beginning in the electric wiring in the vicinity of a first floor laundry room. Investigators say that the fire smoldered and burned undetected for an extended period of time before it was discovered.

Losses are estimated at $2 million to the structure and $1 million to the contents. There were no injuries.