Firefighters work at the scene of the blaze in the 3300 block of Cummings Lane in Chevy Chase Credit: Pete Piringer

A smoke alarm alerted a sleeping Chevy Chase woman to a fire in her home, giving her enough time to escape before flames destroyed the residence on Cummings Lane Tuesday morning.

Fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said the fire broke out around 2 a.m. and responding firefighters encountered heavy fire conditions in the 3300 block of Cummings Lane.

By the time they arrived, the woman had escaped and a rescue crew had taken her to a nearby hospital with smoke inhalation injuries considered to be not life threatening, according to Piringer.

It took firefighters about 30 minutes to knock down the bulk of the fire. Fire investigators initially believe the fire was accidental and likely caused by an electrical problem.

Piringer said the woman was entertaining family on Christmas and the extended family members had left before the fire broke out early in the morning in the home’s first-floor living room.


Piringer posted pictures from the scene on Twitter that showed a ravaged Christmas tree, burned walls and piles of ash inside the home. The damage was estimated at $300,000 to $400,000

Piringer credited the smoke alarm with helping save the woman’s life.