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Lightning strikes cause two fires in Takoma Park

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7200 Holly AvenueCrews attending in the aftermath of a fire at the 7200 block of Holly Avenue PHOTO BY NICKOLAI SUKHAREVTAKOMA PARK — More than 100 firefighters responded to calls in the city Monday evening when lightning strikes set two separate homes ablaze during a storm that included numerous thunderstorm warnings.

At approximately 7:50 p.m., Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service arrived at the 7200 block of Holly Avenue in response to a roof fire before responding to a second fire less than an hour later at the 900 block of Larch Avenue, Piringer tweeted.

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“No Place Like Dietle’s”

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Famous local dive bar goes up in flames taking a century of memories with it

One of the most historic watering holes in the county burned this week. Dietle’s had been in the county for more than a century COURTESY PHOTOOne of the most historic watering holes in the county burned this week. Dietle’s had been in the county for more than a century COURTESY PHOTO  A century of good times went up in smoke early Wednesday morning when a fire reduced Hank Dietle’s Tavern, a longtime Rockville Pike landmark, to ashes.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson Pete Piringer called the damage the fire inflicted on the century-old wooden building – which has served as a local watering hole since 1916 – “almost a total loss” and said the fire was likely accidental, and was probably caused by smoking materials that were left on the tavern’s wooden porch.

“When fire crews arrived, there were some pretty heavy fire conditions throughout the structure,” Piringer said.

At about 2:45 a.m. firefighters responded to reports of a fire at the tavern’s location on 11010 Rockville Pike, where they encountered heavy enough smoke and fire that they called reinforcements to the scene. In total, the fire required the efforts of 65 firefighters to extinguish it. Piringer said no one was injured or killed in the fire.

“They made some pretty quick work of it – they were able to knock it down in 15 minutes or so,” Piringer said, adding that the total cost of the damage was up to $500,000 – $400,000 from the building and $100,000 from the contents.

Hank Dietle’s became Montgomery County’s first ever alcohol licensee when it opened as a general store in 1916. Owners converted the general store to a bar in the 1950s, after which it served as a casual local establishment for beer and live music.

The bar’s loyal patrons took to Facebook early Wednesday to express condolences for the tavern to its owners.

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Fire hits Rockville apartment complex

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About 150 firefighters responded to a three-alarm fire Friday afternoon at the Fireside Park Apartments in Rockville.  PHOTO BY NEAL EARLEYAbout 150 firefighters responded to a three-alarm fire Friday afternoon at the Fireside Park Apartments in Rockville. PHOTO BY NEAL EARLEY  ROCKVILLE — More than 60 people have been displaced after the Fireside Park Apartments caught fire Friday afternoon.

Approximately 150 firefighters responded to the call for a three-alarm fire at the Fireside Park Apartments, located at 735 Monroe Street in Rockville, around 1:30 p.m.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services Spokesperson Pete Piringer said that no residents or firefighters were injured or killed in the fire.

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Montgomery volunteers head to Texas to assist in lifesaving efforts

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MP1 5377The Montgomery County Swift Water rescue group readies to leave for Texas.                PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service personnel from Montgomery County are in Texas this week as part of Maryland Task Force 1 to assist with emergency response to Hurricane Harvey.

Maryland Task Force 1, composed of MCFRS personnel, is one of 28 Federal Emergency Management Agency groups around the country that FEMA organizes, manages and can choose to activate, said MCFRS spokesperson Pete Piringer.

“All 28 teams are engaged, most of which are actually involved with swift water rescues,” said Piringer. “This is the first time since 9/11, I believe, that all are engaged at the same time.”

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Anniversary vigil honors victims of fatal fire

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SILVER SPRING — Flower Branch tenant Felicia Prospere said she can still remember the cries and screams from the fire and explosion that killed seven at the Silver Spring apartment complex last August.

“As soon as I opened – my husband opened the door – I just saw flames – big flames, people crying and screaming, people, you know, letting kids out of the windows, out of the balcony, people just crying for help,” Prospere said. “I couldn’t help them, all I could do was run to save my own life.”

On Aug. 10, the first anniversary of the fire at the Flower Branch Apartments complex located on Arliss Street in Silver Spring, tenants and community members gathered for a candlelight vigil to remember the sudden death and destruction from one year ago. Faith leaders, tenants, activists and politicians were present to remember the tenants that died in the fire: Fernando Jose Hernandez Orellana, 3, Deibi “David” Samir Lainez Morales, 8, Aseged Mekonen, 34, Saeda Ibrahim Deibi Samir, 41, Maria Auxiliadorai Castellon-Martinez, 53, Augusto Jimenez Sr., 62 and Saul Paniagua, 65.

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