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Five-Alarm Fire At Wood Partners Project Causes $39M In Damage

Fuse 47 College Park fire
Fire trucks attempting to put out the fire at the Fuse 47 apartment building in College Park

A major apartment development, a few miles outside of Washington, DC, and a few blocks from the University of Maryland, was the site of one of the biggest fires in local history.

Wood Partners' 275-unit College Park project, which had already begun pre-leasing for a summer delivery, caught fire Monday morning, filling Route 1 with smoke and causing an estimated $39M in damages.

Prince George's County Fire Department spokesperson Mark Brady first tweeted "2 Alarm College Park" at 9:40 a.m., followed by several videos showing thick black smoking coming from the top of the building, which has been branded as "Fuse 47." 

 

The fire continued throughout the morning and afternoon with departments from Montgomery County, Anne Arundel County, Howard County joining PGFD and a total of 200 firefighters attempting to put out the blaze. PGFD said in a release Monday evening that some hotspots and hard to reach areas continue to burn, and the firefight would continue through the night and into Tuesday morning. 

PGFD estimated the fire caused $39M in damages and said it was the highest fire-loss estimate and largest fire suppression effort in the history of the department, which spans the 500-square-mile county of nearly one million people.

The fire sent smoke billowing across Route 1 and onto the University of Maryland's campus, which closed for the day at 1 p.m. 

One firefighter was taken to the hospital after experiencing fatigue while battling the fire, PGFD said in a release Monday evening, and one emergency responder sustained an injured ankle. 

The fire was more difficult to respond to because the building's sprinkler system has not been completed and its empty spaces allowed the fire to travel quickly, Prince George's County Fire Department chief Ben Barksdale said Monday afternoon. 

Wood Partners Fuse 47 College Park
A rendering of Wood Partners Fuse 47 building in College Park

Wood Partners had hoped to start moving residents into the apartment in July. The 275-unit project at 4700 Berwyn House Road sits across Route 1 from the University View and The Varsity apartment buildings, just a short walk from campus. 

The building's amenities include a swimming pool, two courtyards, a bocce court, a pet spa, a bike workshop, and a clubhouse with WiFi, a wet bar and a pool table. The building has a mix of one-, two- and three-bedrooms, with the smallest units planned to start at $1,565/month.