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Sunday Fires

Two Potomac area homes were among the multiple fires on Feb. 1, Super Bowl Sunday. Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service spokesman says that this continues a trend of increased fires during the winter months.

At approximately 5:30 p.m., firefighters responded to a house fire on the 10100 block of Burton Glen Drive.

When they arrived, firefighters found fire and smoke coming out of a garage area of the home. An adult and child left the home safely before firefighters arrived, said the Fire and Rescue Service.

An adult smelled smoke and looked in the garage where a fire was going, said Pete Piringer, spokesperson for Fire and Rescue services.

The adult then closed the door and evacuated the house before calling 911. “That simple act [closing the door] probably saved the house from further damage,” Piringer said.

It took about 30 firefighters about 20 minutes to get the fire under control. One adult was taken to the hospital for possible smoke inhalation. She was treated and released, said Piringer.

Piringer said the cause of the fire seemed to be improperly stored fireplace ashes.

Another, smaller fire occurred in the unit block of Carderock Court. At about 8:45 p.m., units responded to the house where residents were complaining of an odor and haze.

The source was traced back to an electrical light fixture. “It was some kind of electrical problem,” Piringer said.

The home sustained about $10,000 in damages and the family was displaced, Piringer said.

On the evening of Jan. 30, a fire occurred at a construction trailer on the grounds of the Holton-Arms School, said Piringer. He estimated that $10,000 in damages occurred in the trailer, but said that the school it self was not effected. No one was injured in the incident.

Fires are more common during the winter months, Piringer said. He attributes the increase to residents using heating sources, such as wood-burning stoves, fireplaces, space heaters and other kinds of heating, inside.

“Often fires start because of a combustible near a heat source,” Piringer said. The use of heaters, combined with the drier air in winter and people just generally being indoors more, can all result in more fires. “It’s not really one thing,” he said.

Piringer cites data from the U.S. Fire Administration stating that more residential fires occur from November to February than during the rest of the year. Piringer recommends a sprinkler system and smoke detectors on every floor of the house as the best protection.