Powerful winds caused havoc around the region

Powerful winds caused havoc around the region Sunday with multiple fires, downed power lines and other damage.

A few hundred people lost power in Kensington after a huge tree fell on utility lines on Kensington Parkway. Power is expected to be out overnight.

"We heard what sounded to me like an explosion," said Ron Juvenal , whose apartment lost power.

"And of course, our lights went out and a couple of seconds later, there was another loud bang," said neighbor Clark Davis.

At least two apartment building lost power, and residents said at one of the buildings, people had to be rescued from an elevator.

The wind also stoked fires in both Maryland and Virginia. A barn went up in flames in Clarksburg just before 3 p.m.

It was empty at the time, and no one was hurt, but firefighters said nearby homes were threatened.

"It was a fully involved fire," said Montgomery County Fire spokesman, Pete Piringer. "Obviously, the windy conditions were causing a situation where the nearby brush and woods caught on fire really quickly."

The cause of that fire is still under investigation. Piringer said an earlier brush fire in Gaithersburg was sparked by a lawnmower.

"A gentleman was operating a lawnmower, started the fire, (there was a) rapid spread, got into a wooded area and, fortunately, we were able to get a pretty good knock on it pretty quickly," Piringer said. "But it probably spread about 100 yards or so."

In Bethesda, a large tree branch crashed down on a car Sunday, and on Saturday in Potomac, a branch severely injured a young woman.

Firefighters offered these safety tips for the windy, dry weather we're seeing:

-if you lose power, steer clear of candles because of the fire risk.

-if you see downed power lines, assume they are live wires and stay away from them -don't do any outdoor burning or grilling -make sure you properly dispose of cigarette butts and fireplace ashes. Fireplace ashes can retain heat for several day and should be thrown away in a metal tin with a tight lid