GAITHERSBURG, Md. - A dozens are displaced after a fire destroyed parts of a Gaithersburg condo complex early Saturday morning.
The affected families have been taken to a nearby elementary school where they are receiving help from The American Red Cross.
Frigid temperatures and snow greeted families forced to leave their homes in the wee hours Saturday morning after a fire swept through the Potomac Oak condominium development in Gaithersburg.
At least a hundred firefighters responded to the scene and not only did they fight this fire but they battled freezing temperatures, as snow and water that quickly turned to ice.
"I’m just happy that everyone got out and everyone safe. I don’t know what to think at this point. I don’t know how bad the damage is. I’ll just have to make that assessment when these guys are done," says displaced Potomac Oak resident Andy Green.
He’s one of a dozen families awakened by screams to get out.
Green describes the alarming scene: " A lot of banging, a lot of screaming. People just trying to help each other get out," he said.
"It was 5:00 in the morning and I just hear banging on the door and they’re just screaming fire. I thought it was gunshots for a second because the banging was so hard, I thought it was gunshots so I didn’t want to run to the door if it was gunshots so then my uncle went and opened the door and they’re screaming at us, get out and then we come out and the two buildings are just on fire and we were just waiting to see what happens," says resident Ferndando Reyes.
"Right now the investigators will try to determine the cause of the fire. It looks like it was in the upper area, pretty significant damage. In fact when we arrived the fire was already through the roof," says Pete Piringer with Montgomery County Fire and Rescue.
Piringer says there were no serious injuries. "The only injury we have so far is to a police officer that had some smoke inhalation. He was assisting with some of the evacuation," he says.
FOX 5 has learned the fire was likely burning for an extended period before a resident returning home called for help after smelling smoke.