A two-alarm fire in Olney Friday night obliterated an entire townhouse, caused approximately $1.4 million in damages and displaced 20 people from neighboring homes, fire officials reported.
The fire started in a townhouse community in the 3500 block of Softwood Terrace as a result of a unidentified resident using lighter fluid to restart a wood-burning fire in the basement, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Spokesman Pete Piringer said.
“There was some kind of malfunction with the lighter fluid can,” Piringer said. “The fire came back at him and the rest of the lighter fluid became involved. Then the fire spread rapidly.”
The resident left the door to the basement open when evacuating, which fueled the fire, according to Piringer.
Piringer said a neighbor called the fire department after noticing the neighbor’s deck ablaze.
Station 40 of the Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Department on Georgia Avenue in Olney was the first to respond at 7:15 p.m. Approximately 100 MCFRS firefighters overall from multiple stations responded to the fire, Piringer said.