Two Md. Firefighters Injured in Three-Alarm Arson Fire

CHEVY CHASE, Md. -- Montgomery County Fire officials say that a man confessed Wednesday morning to starting a fire on Tuesday in Chevy Chase that injured two firefighters.

Officials say 24-year-old Abraham Ogazgi Kiflu of Chevy Chase walked into the 3rd District Police Station on Tuesday night and asked to speak with the fire marshal. They say he then voluntarily confessed to starting the fire.

Kiflu has been charged with first degree arson. Officials say that Kiflu is a relative of a tenant at the apartment complex and was living there at the time of the fire.

At least 20 apartment units were damaged, and between 80 and 100 residents were displaced after the three-alarm fire at a garden-style apartment complex in the 2800 block of Terrace Drive. The fire began in the common attic area at about 2:15 p.m., according to Montgomery County's Capt. Scott Graham.

Graham said the fire quickly spread to several other buildings in the complex through the common attic area.

A second alarm was sounded and the fire eventually went to three alarms before firefighters could get the blaze under control.

An evacuation tone was sounded and firefighters went into an exterior attack mode to fight the fire. The fire was out by 5 p.m.

Officials say that the fire damaged or destroyed 34 apartment units. Two of those units were no occupied. In total, the fire caused more than $1 million in damage to the building and its contents, say fire officials.

More than 100 people were displaced due to the fire. Montgomery County and the Red Cross are helping the displaced residents to find temporary shelter.

Graham said there are no civilian injuries. Two firefighters suffered injuries, one minor and one serious but non life-threatening. They were transported to a local hospital for treatment and have been released.

Republished with permission of WUSA-TV