About 100 residents were evacuated from the Georgian Woods Apartments in Wheaton early today as a raging fouralarm fire heavily damaged three connected buildings in the garden complex, according to fire, police and othere officials.
The blaze, which started shortly after 12:30 a.m., was reported still out of control at 2:15 a.m. The apartment complex is spread out along Shorefield Road and Shorefield Court about one block from Georgia Avenue near Wheaton Regional Park.
About 100 Montgomery County firefighters were called to the blaze, which was fanned by strongly gusting winds. Fire equipment was rushed to the scene from as far away as Laurel. Five firefighters were described as minor injuries. No civilian injuries were reported.
The fire heavily damaged three attached four-story buildings at 12106, 12108 and 12110 Shorefield Ct., according to officials of the apartment complex. No estimate of the damage was immediately available.
"Many of the people (who live in the burning buildings) seem to be finding shelter with friends and relatives," said an official of the apartment complex. Officials also reported that persons evacuated from the blazing structures were given temporary shelter in "model" units at the complex. Some may be put up at nearby motels, officials said.
The fire apparently broke out in a basement trash area of one of the buildings, according to Montgomery County police. Officials of the apartment complex said the fire apparently spread to the other buildings because of stiff winds.
"The entire top floor is in flames completely," asid a neighbor who could watch the blaze from his nearby apartment. "There are three apartments on that floor and it's completely in flame from one end to another."
The cause of the fire was under investigation early this morning. Fire officials were expected to remain on the scene throughout the morning to wet down the smoldering buildings.