A huge fire that destroyed an apartment building under construction in College Park, Maryland Monday was likely accidental -- though fire inspectors say a full investigation could take days or weeks.
The fire led to one of the largest firefighting efforts in Prince George's County history, as thick black smoke wafted over the nearby University of Maryland campus, which had to close for the day. No one was hurt, but the building was a $39 million loss.
Fire investigators asked Thursday for anyone with photos of videos of the fire to come forward to help investigators. Images can be emailed to PGFDPIO@co.pg.md.us.
The fire broke out Monday morning on the fifth floor of Fuse 47, a seven-story, mixed-use development of about 250 apartments and retail stores that was under construction in the 4700 block of Berwyn House Road.
The flames quickly spread to the sixth floor.
PGFD 5 Alarms - 200 Fire/EMS personnel on scene 4+hours operations. One of, if not the, largest fire suppression efforts in County history— Mark Brady (@PGFDPIO) April 24, 2017
Crews brought the blaze under control by about 3 p.m. Monday, although hot spots remained for days.
Firefighters said it was like battling a wood pile surrounded by concrete.
“With all that wood, it’s very hard to catch up with it,” said acting Prince George's Fire Chief Benjamin Barksdale.
More... Mutual Aid PGCo 5-Alarm bldg Fire dozens of MCFRS engaged on scene in College Park & many other units filling-in PG firehouses pic.twitter.com/EcZM0fIceg— Pete Piringer (@mcfrsPIO) April 24, 2017
Due to poor air quality from fire near campus, the University of Maryland, College Park is closing at 1 pm on Monday, April 24, 2017 (1/3)— Univ. of Maryland (@UofMaryland) April 24, 2017
UMPD is on scene to direct traffic. Baltimore Ave. is closed northbound. Best exit points are Paint Branch Drive or Stadium Drive. (2/3)— Univ. of Maryland (@UofMaryland) April 24, 2017
For those on campus, stay inside, and close windows and doors. Updates forthcoming. (3/3)— Univ. of Maryland (@UofMaryland) April 24, 2017
The middle school where I intern is 3 miles away from the fire in College Park and it smells faintly of smoke inside the school— . (@adiammm) April 24, 2017
A woman who lives nearby told News4 a cloud of smoke settled on her house.
"The whole house is consumed with smoke," she said. "It's unbearable. I have to leave."
The University of Maryland College Park, located nearby, closed at 1 p.m. due to poor air quality, President Wallace Loh said. Students on campus were told to stay inside and close their windows and doors.
"Everything on campus smells like burnt electronics or something," student Emory Bacon said.