Bethesda fire elicits three-alarm response

Photo courtesy of Melanie Kaufman

BETHESDA, Md. (WJLA) -- The first signs of trouble surfaced around 4:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon. From Chopper 7, you can see bright red flames shooting through the roof and thick columns of smoke visible for miles.

"I was coming home from the park with my grandson this afternoon," explains neighbor Maryanne Hoffman. "We saw unbelievably angry, black clouds of smoke and flames like from a movie."

The 6,000 square foot home on fire happened to be under construction, and arriving firefighters around the flames moved quickly to try to contain it.

"The fire was described as being a blow torch towards the adjacent house on the left hand side," says Chief Scott Goldstein with the Montgomery County Fire Department.

Despite the three-alarm response, the blaze spread to the attic of the home next door, and that’s when nerves got a bit rattled.

"I heard the fire trucks -- louder and louder and louder ...I looked out the front door, and surprise, there it is," says area resident Cannon Spotswood.

The stately older homes in the neighborhood are very close together, sometimes even sharing a driveway. The fire was so fierce that neighbors worried whether it would spread to their own homes.

"I live two blocks over and there's charcoal in my front yard, so I was happy to see so many fire trucks responding," says Lise Goldman.

But when the flames didn’t get any closer, they counted their blessings and are just hoping the wall of water used to fight the fire didn’t end up in their basements.