More than 100 firefighters were called to battle a powerful blaze in a large Bethesda home early Wednesday.
The emergency call came in about 12:30 a.m. for the 6,900-square-foot house in the 6900 block of Whittier Boulevard. A passerby saw the fire and called 911.
The residents were staying elsewhere with family while the home was being renovated.
Firefighters arrived to find heavy fire in the colonial. Because there was a car in the driveway, they started some initial searches as the flames raged, but walls were collapsing and the roof caved in.
"Yes, we had a little anxiety for awhile. There was a car in the driveway at that time of the night," said Pete Piringer, spokesman for Montgomery County Fire & Rescue. "There's always the potential for residents to be in a house asleep, but this particular home was being renovated. Neighbors told us that they believe the family was staying with others."
Piringer said that they had not yet been able to contact the family.
One firefighter suffered dehydration at the scene.
The fire started in the kitchen and spread through the house.
The cause of the blaze is under investigation, but it appears to be accidental. Damage is estimated at more than $1 million.