'Like a War Zone': Massive Fire Rips Through Maryland Block; Smoke Seen for Miles - NBC4 Washington

Tracee Wilkins and the News4 team covering where you live

'Like a War Zone': Massive Fire Rips Through Maryland Block; Smoke Seen for Miles

'Like a War Zone': Fire Rips Through Entire Block in Lanham

Residents of Lanham, Maryland, describe the moment their block burst into flames. News4's Tracee Wilkins reports. (Published Wednesday, May 2, 2018)

A massive fire ripped through an entire block in Lanham, Maryland, on Wednesday, displacing the residents of 26 homes and burning two buildings under construction. 

Chopper4 footage showed flames leaping from the top of multiple buildings in the Glenn Dale Crossing community Wednesday afternoon. Black smoke could be seen for miles.

Amazingly, no one was hurt. 

Workers were inside one of the buildings when flames erupted. They were able to evacuate safely. 

Raw Video: Massive Fire Destroys Block of Townhomes

[DC] Raw Video: Massive Fire Destroys Block of Townhomes

A massive fire destroyed a block of townhomes, construction equipment and several propane tanks in Lanham, Maryland, Prince George's County fire officials say. Chopper4 footage shows flames leaping from the top of what appear to be multiple buildings in the Green Dale Crossing community. Black smoke can be seen for miles.

(Published Wednesday, May 2, 2018)

Neighbors said they heard at least eight explosions and then began to see smoke. 

"I saw a cloud of smoke come across, a heavy dark cloud, and started seeing debris falling," one man said. 

"It was like a war zone," another resident said. 

The fire appeared to begin at a four-story condo building under construction and then spread to another row of townhomes also under construction, said Prince George's County fire department spokesman Mark Brady.

There also was some damage to completed and occupied townhouses that were in direct contact with those that were under construction, Brady said.

The fire spread to a nearby wooded area that borders a line of single-family homes. 

The blaze caused an estimated $8.9 million in damage. 

The bulk of the fire was extinguished shortly before 2 p.m.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. 

Wednesday was the hottest day of the season so far, with the high reaching 84 degrees. The region is in the middle of one of its driest springs, and the area where the fire is happening is experiencing a moderate drought, Storm Team4 meteorologist Doug Kammerer said. 

Three other major fires occurred in the area on Wednesday: two in Centreville, Virginia, and one in Fairfax, Virginia. 

The Red Cross is helping displaced residents. 

Second Fire in Woods Near Massive Blaze

[DC] Second Fire in Woods Near Massive Blaze

A second fire started in a wooded area about 100-200 feet from a three-alarm fire at townhomes under construction. Brad Freitas reports from Chopper 4.

(Published Wednesday, May 2, 2018)

Watch NBC4 and get the latest news anytime, anywhere. Check here for TV listings.