60 people displaced into frigid temperatures after Aspen Hill apartment fire

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ASPEN HILL, Md. - Approximately 60 people were evacuated from an apartment building in frigid cold temperatures on Thursday night due to a fire.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue says they were called to the Crystal Springs apartment complex, along Georgia Avenue, just after 9 p.m.

Firefighters found smoke coming from the building.

Spokesman Pete Piringer says they believe a malfunction with the building's furnace sparked the fire, which started on the ground level in a concealed area of the building.

He says the fire traveled up to the top floor through the pipe chases and duct work, which still caused serious damage to at least six of the apartments.

"It’s problematic for the firefighters, a little more labor intensive," he says.

Approximately 100 firefighters responded to the scene, in part due to the cold temperatures.

"Obviously we use water to fight the fire, that turned to ice immediately," says Piringer. "It was very cold, our equipment gets stiff, so we have to rotate our crews out more often than we normally would."

He says this is one of several fires at the apartment complex in recent years.

The American Red Cross says they are assisting the thirteen displaced families.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue says they received about 70 calls on Thursday, double what they usually receive.

Several of the calls were for fires sparked by heating devices.

Officials are urging anyone using a heating source, such as a space heater, to be sure to give it space.

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