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

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. 

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. 

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