Two separate fires in Montgomery County destroy facilities -- Gazette.Net


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This story was corrected on Feb. 21, 2012.

Two fires in Montgomery County leveled two commercial buildings, according to Montgomery County Assistant Fire Chief Scott Graham.

Investigators are on the scene of both incidents this morning working to determine the causes.

About 4:30 a.m. today, firefighters were battling a blaze at 175 Watts Branch Parkway in Rockville, the address of the former Karma Academy for Boys, a 13-bed residential treatment facility in Rockville. The building is owned by Montgomery County, according to a website for the facility.

KHI Services Inc., a Germantown-based nonprofit, ran the academy at the site until it closed in 2010. Since then, the building has remained vacant and boarded up, according to Donna Bigler, a Montgomery County spokesperson. The county was considering having contractors demolish the building, but had not yet made a decision, Bigler said.

Graham said the building was unoccupied and no one was injured in the blaze.

It appears the building is a total loss, according to fire and rescue spokesperson Beth Anne Nesselt.

A second fire broke out about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the 17001 block of Germantown Road inside a commercial food facility owned by High Point Catering.

Graham said when firefighters arrived, the building was fully involved in flames. Nesselt estimated the damages to the building and contents at $500,000.

“Everyone is OK and that is the important thing,” said Bob Egan, owner of High Point Catering.

The 5,000 square-foot building served as a warehouse for the company.

High Point has been in business for 40 years, Egan said.

Correction: The former Karma Academy’s address is 175 Watts Branch Parkway.