June 5, 2018 – Rockville Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton and the other members of the Rockville City Council presented certificates of recognition to the RVFD and Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service at their meeting on June 4, 2018. The departments were recognized for their exceptional service rendered to the community during and after a large fire at the Fireside Park Apartments on February 2, 2018.
The fire was reported around 1:30pm on February 2, 2018. While enroute to the fire, Montgomery County Emergency Communications advised they were dispatching rapid intervention units as numerous calls indicated a “working” fire. Based on prior experience at the complex, a second alarm was requested prior to arrival of any units. RVFD E703B arrived first and reported fire showing from two floors of the three story building. Chief 703D, Deputy Chief Bill Dunn, arrived shortly afterwards and noted fire through the roof as he assumed command of the incident. Due to the heavy volume of fire, it was decided to utilize and exterior attack with master streams. A third alarm was requested when it was discovered the fire had extended into an adjacent connected building.
A number of challenges were presented to the command team and firefighters during this incident. The weather was cold and high wind impacted fire spread and visibility. Due to the age and configuration of the municipal water supply, water flow was limited, especially since the bulk of firefighting was with master stream devices. A separate water supply group was established and was assisted by Rockville City water system personnel.
The fire was brought under control within 3 hours with units remaining on the scene throughout the night in case of flare ups. A temporary shelter was established at Richard Montgomery High School where RVFD and MCFRS personnel, assisted by the Red Cross, Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management, Rockville City Housing Authority, Fireside Park management and other agencies worked together to accommodate the displaced residents from the three destroyed buildings.