Joint Base Andrews fire destroys 3 homes, displaces 17 family members

Flames destroyed three town homes at Joint Base Andrews Thursday afternoon.

Only ABC7 news crews were given access to the base just minutes after the fire first broke out.

Col. Ken Rizer,{ }Commander of Joint Base Andrews, says members of the Navy, Marines and Air Force--and their families--were impacted by this devastating fire.

A plume of thick grey smoke commanded the skies above the base after fire raced through, and destroyed three homes occupied by enlisted personnel and their families.

Seventeen people lived in the homes

Rizer says moments after flames ripped through a cluster of townhouses, those inside managed to escape.

"For all the families who were affected they're all accounted for and they're all ok," he says.

One visiting relative and a firefighter sustained minor injuries and are expected to be okay.

Firefighters on base arrived on scene quickly. Due to the fire's size they reached out to the Prince George's County Fire Department.

"And they responded almost immediately with four fire trucks and three other vehicles and scores of firefighters," Rizer says.

The 17 displaced residents have been relocated to other housing. And the commander says help is on the way.

"Our chapel staff is taking care of taking donations for clothing, food, furniture anything else those families need," Rizer says. "So I'm proud of the community because they are rallying pretty quickly here."

Officials believe the fire started in the back of one of the townhouses. The cause remains under investigation.