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Monday, June 8, 2009

College Park House Fire Displaces Four Students

At around 9:10 AM, Monday, June 8, 2009, a fire erupted in the basement of a 2-story Cape Cod single family home in College Park. Contract workers were using a hand-held blow torch fueled by a small acetylene tank to remove old adhesive material from the basement floor. The heat from the torch ignited combustible materials and the fire rapidly spread throughout the basement. The privately owned house is rented out to four students that attend the University of Maryland-College Park; two students were at work and two students were at home when the fire started. A combination of the contractors warning of “fire”, a neighbor banging on doors and windows and the activation of smoke alarms alerted the two male occupants to exit the house. They did so safely prior to the Fire Departments arrival.

Fire/EMS units arrived at the house at 7507 Hopkins Avenue and encountered heavy smoke coming from all levels of the house and fire showing from the rear basement windows. The fire was advancing to the upper floors by way of the interior walls as a well coordinated and managed aggressive interior attack on the fire was initiated. The fire was contained and extinguished within 15 to 20 minutes after the arrival of firefighters.

Residents of the home will be displaced and are making their own arrangements for housing. A preliminary fire loss is estimated at $200,000 and the cause is listed as accidental – caused by the work being performed in the basement. There were no injuries.

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