At least six people have been transported to the hospital following a three-alarm fire at the Arrive Silver Spring apartment complex on Georgia Avenue in Downtown Silver Spring Saturday morning, officials say. Credit: Pete Piringer

Tenants displaced after a fatal fire early Saturday at a high-rise apartment complex in downtown Silver Spring were being relocated Monday to empty units within the facility, according to residents who spoke with MoCo360. But they said they had previously dealt with false alarms, complained of the lack of sprinklers and cited poor communication from property management. 

The blaze killed one woman and left one person in critical condition. At least 15 other people were sent to the hospital. Three firefighters had been treated and released, according to Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services spokesperson Pete Piringer. Three pets died in the fire. As many as 400 residents have been displaced, fire officials said. 

They continue to investigate the cause. Montgomery County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein has said an aerosol can may have become overheated and contributed to the blaze.  

Goldstein said the fire began in a unit on the seventh floor of the Arrive apartment complex on Georgia Avenue, which is separated into two buildings with 15 floors each and 18 units on each floor. Alarms began ringing around 6.a.m. Seventh-floor resident Joe Tresh has been hailed as a hero for navigating himself and his partner through the smoke to the sixth floor to pull the alarm, alerting building residents to the blaze, WUSA9 has reported.  

According to Em Espey, an education reporter at MoCo360 and seventh-floor resident, the building’s property management, remediation team and insurance adjuster are assessing the situation to determine a timeline for when displaced residents can get into their apartments. 

“We went from having an apartment that we just moved into and just finished putting together to having nothing and living on our friend’s couch with all of our animals,” Espey said. “We were able to go back up to our unit and pack a bag on Saturday night. But other than that, we’re kind of roughing it.” 


Espey said they and their partner have been shifted to another unit in the apartment complex and were told it would take some weeks for them to access their unit and their belongings.

“I will say that the communication from management has been….just severely lacking in specificity and timeliness,” Espey said. 

Property management for the Arrive apartment complex did not immediately respond Monday to MoCo360’s requests for comment. 


Another resident at the Arrive complex, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation by management, said that while her unit was not affected by the fire, she was “flabbergasted” by management’s response to the situation. 

“I moved in in May. And I can tell you since May, we’ve probably had about 10 false alarms. It’s, it’s a lot. It’s pretty regular,” she said. “So initially, when the fire alarm went off … I thought: Here we go again; I’m not dealing with this, and I just happened to take a peek at the blinds through the window and [thought]: Oh, s—. This isn’t a drill.” 

Residents also cited the lack of a sprinkler system as a factor that could have helped douse the fire. Maryland State Fire Marshal Brian Geraci told Fox5 on Sunday that “It would have been a much, much different outcome if we’d have had sprinklers in that building yesterday.” Under current fire codes, the complex is not required to have sprinklers installed until 2033, the affiliate reported. 


The Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal did not immediately respond to MoCo360’s requests for comment. 

Montgomery County’s Department of Health and Human Services and the Red Cross Foundation were working together to help displaced residents, Goldstein said this weekend. 

“They had a Red Cross reception yesterday, from 10 to 4, and we got an email about it at noon,” Espey said. “So, two hours after the event had already started, we got the email from building management letting us know Red Cross is doing this thing.” 


According to Espey, the email did not specify what resources were going to be provided. 

“We saw it and we’re like, well, we already were privileged enough that we have a safe place to be, so we were assuming this was for housing or something. We said we don’t need to go,” they said. “Then we got a call from the Red Cross at like 2 p.m. checking in to make sure we knew about the event, and they mentioned we’d be eligible for monetary compensation and financial assistance.” 

For now, residents like Espey and their partner are waiting for communication on when they can get access to their unit and belongings.


“So, we are basically going to be camping in an empty apartment unit without all of our stuff, even though our stuff is intact and right across the way,” Espey said. “So, it’s just a really weird, eerie situation.”