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Millrace Townhomes Project Profile

A fire in Millrace Townhomes in Gaithersburg, Maryland, demonstrated the effectiveness of USG® Area Separation Wall Systems. Two types of USG® Area Separation Wall Systems, cavity-type in sidewalls and solid-type in back walls, were used in each unit. The fire burned quickly and destroyed the originating unit, but the fire walls kept the fire contained and adjacent units only had incidental damage.

Two different area separation systems, both providing fire-resistant walls from ground level to roof, were employed in the construction of the Millrace Townhomes. On the sides of the units, cavity-type USG® Area Separation Walls were used. Between back-to-back units, solid-type USG® Area Separation Walls were used.  Both systems function the same way and provide a two-hour fire-rated performance. 

The Millrace fire demonstrated that USG® Area Separation Wall Systems fire resistance is first-rate.

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People Involved

Roy, O’Brien and Creaser Architecture Firm

Special Factors

Complex property lines. Four units open to a common courtyard make fire fighting difficult.