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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

College Park area hit by heavy rains and lightening

College Park and nearby communities experienced flash flooding after a slow moving thunder storm passed through the area. In addition to heavy rain, lightening is believed to have ignited two house fires. About a dozen vehicles stalled in high swift moving water with the occupants requiring assistance from firefighters to reach higher ground. The intersection of Route 1 (Baltimore Avenue) and Guilford Road had 5 vehicles stranded in high water; two occupied vehicles were stalled in high water at Pine Way and Clagett Pine Way in University Park and the 5200 block of Paint Branch Parkway was closed temporarily as flash flooding occurred.

Lightening is believed to have ignited a house fire at 4308 Van Buren Street in University Park. A fire was ignited on the upper floors causing about $10,000 in estimated fire loss. There were no injuries, however, the family will be displaced and staying with other family members. A lightening strike is also blamed for a house fire at 6808 Randolph Street in Landover Hills. Firefighters arrived to find fire in the attic of this single family home. A cat perished in the fire and a firefighter sustained minor burn injuries. Fire loss is estimated at $40,000. This family will also be displaced and making their own arrangements.

Dispatchers at the County Public Safety Communications Center handled 200 calls for service for firefighters and paramedics in a 2-hour period starting at 6:30 PM. The majority of these calls involved floods, electrical wires down, transformer fires and activated fire alarms. A typical 2-hour period would generate about 30 calls for service.

The National Weather Service called for additional rain in the College Park area later this evening. A Fire/EMS Department Command Post is established at the College Park Fire/EMS Department with swift water, rescue boats and additional Fire/EMS resources standing by.