Credit: Photo from Alan Butsch via Twitter

A fire broke out at a high-rise apartment building in North Bethesda Tuesday afternoon, with a large cloud of smoke visible to many in the surrounding area. A Montgomery County Fire & Rescue official said the fire was relatively minor.

Pete Piringer, a Fire & Rescue spokesman, posted on Twitter that about 75 firefighters responded to a fire at 5901 Montrose Road, which is the Monterey Apartments.

Piringer wrote that the fire was in the air handler portion of the roof, which is part of the HVAC system.

Large plumes of smoke emanating from the high-rise building were visible to motorists on Rockville Pike during the fire.

Fire & Rescue Assistant Chief Alan Butsch told Bethesda Beat on Tuesday that no injuries from the fire had been reported. The fire was contained to the air handler portion of the HVAC system, but there was water damage from the efforts to fight the fire, he said.

“If you’ve seen the footage on Twitter, it looks pretty spectacular. But honestly, it’s a pretty small fire when you get down to it,” he said.


The cause of the fire remains under investigation, Butsch said.

Dan Schere can be reached at