Hotel guests evacuated after fire

One worker at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Bethesda was injured and 400 guests were evacuated early Monday when a fire broke out in the electrical room, according to the Montgomery County Fire Department spokesman.

The injured person is a contractor who was driven by a colleague to a hospital and later was taken to a burn center facility, said Montgomery County Assistant Fire Chief Scott Graham, a fire department spokesman. Graham termed his injuries serious but not life-threatening.

The guests were taken by bus to Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but officials said a worker in the electrical room heard a loud bang.

— Dan Morse

Toddler injured after fall from window

A 3-year-old girl fell out of a fourth-floor window in a Montgomery County apartment on Monday morning and was taken to Holy Cross Hospital in serious condition, officials said.

Police are looking into the possibility that the child was inside a room with her 5-year-old brother and one of them opened the window to look at the snow.

The incident happened shortly after 9 a.m. in the 3800 block of Bel Pre Road, which is about four miles north of downtown Wheaton. Two adults were in the apartment at the time of the fall but apparently were not in the room with the open window. The investigation into the incident is ongoing, said Capt. Paul Starks, a police spokesman.

— Dan Morse

Teacher’s assistant charged with assault

A teacher’s assistant at a Prince William County middle school was charged with abusing two students, police said Monday.

Shirley Whitfield, 69, a teacher’s assistant at Beville Middle School in Dale City, allegedly assaulted a 13-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy Thursday, Prince William police said, causing minor injuries. She has been charged with two counts of assault and battery.

Whitfield, of the 13900 block of Hedgewood Drive in Woodbridge, has been placed on paid administrative leave, according to school system spokeswoman Irene Cromer.

The alleged abuse took place in a classroom during the school day, said Officer Jonathan Perok, a department spokesman. Whitfield allegedly hit the girl in the stomach with her hand and struck the boy’s head with a toy, Perok said.

Whitfield could not immediately be reached Monday, and it was unclear whether she had retained a lawyer.

A court date was unavailable.

— Jeremy Borden