Just after 12 Noon on Tuesday, March 24, 2009, Firefighters and Paramedics from Greenbelt and surrounding communities were alerted to an apartment fire. Fire/EMS units arrived within minutes at 172 Westway, a 3-story garden style apartment building, to find heavy smoke coming from the top floor and roof. An aggressive interior fire attack was established in concert with fellow Firefighters performing vertical ventilation on the roof. An electrical malfunction in a terrace level apartment ignited a fire that extended to the upper floors by way of the interior of the walls within the building. A 2ND Alarm was sounded bringing a total of nearly 60 firefighter/Medics to the scene; some units staged a short distance from the fire in the event they were needed but were not used. Approximately 45 firefighters worked for 30 minutes to extinguish the fire and spent another hour ensuring the fire was completely extinguished. Fortunately there were no injuries to civilians or firefighters.
Acting Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones was on the fireground and impressed with the operations of the Fire/EMS Department. He stated, “I commend the firefighters that worked extremely hard on this very challenging fire. Their hard work resulted in limiting the amount of fire damage to the building. I also acknowledge the efforts of our Incident Commanders for their forward thinking in the deployment of resources to extinguish the fire and in keeping everyone safe.”
The Fire/EMS Departments Citizens Services Unit provided assistance to 5 families, consisting of 7 adults and 8 children, which are displaced from their apartments. These 15 residents will be placed into temporary shelter by apartment management.
Fire Investigators determined the cause of the fire to be accidental and attributed to an electrical malfunction. Fire loss is estimated at $75,000.