Montgomery County

Woman Killed, 50 Displaced After Leisure World Fire

The blaze displaced dozens, Montgomery County firefighters say

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A woman in her 90s died and about 50 people were forced out of their homes after an early morning fire swept through the Leisure World retirement community in Montgomery County, Maryland, fire officials say.

Montgomery County firefighters responded about 1:30 a.m. to a fire in the 15200 block of Elkridge Way in Leisure World, a gated community for retirees and people older than 55.

Flames engulfed the roof and top floor of a three-story residential apartment building.

More than 100 firefighters responded to put out the flames and get elderly residents to safety, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue spokesperson Pete Piringer said. They had to take special precautions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Initially, no injuries were reported, but firefighters learned at one point that someone was unaccounted for.

They found a woman, who has mobility issues, dead inside the apartment she shared with two others, Piringer said.

Investigators are looking into the cause of her death. No foul play is suspected, fire officials said. She has not yet been identified.

A restaurant owner in La Plata says he's playing by pandemic rules. He's attempting to keep customers safe, and his workers employed, by trying to serve his food outdoors under a tent. But as News4's Derrick Ward reports, that owner says the town is giving him pushback.

At least 50 residents were displaced from the building, which is now unsafe to occupy, fire officials said. The Red Cross is helping those residents with shelter, food and counseling.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Fire officials said there was about $2.5 million in damages.

Leisure World called the fire devastating and thanked first responders in a statement on social media.

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