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Saturday, October 23, 2010

3-Alarm Apartment Building Fire with Fatality - UPDATE

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcwashington.com/video.

Firefighters from the Suitland area responded to a report of a fire at 3362 Curtis Drive at about 4:30 am. Fire/EMS units arrived to find heavy fire conditions on the terrace level, rear side of the building. Residents egress via the center stairwell were blocked by intense heat and thick smoke and they retreated to their balconies. Numerous rescues of those residents were made by firefighters from all floors using ground ladders.

The fire was well advanced by the time firefighters arrived and extended through the upper floors and eventually through the roof. The fire also extended into an attached apartment building at 3364 Curtis Drive. Personnel were forced to evacuate the building for safety reasons as conditions continued to rapidly deteriorate.

3 civilians are being treated at area hospitals.  Paramedics transported an adult female that suffered a minor burn injury and an adult male that experienced difficulty breathing.  An adult female was taken to a hospital by family members; she was experiencing difficulty breathing from smoke inhalation.  Three firefighters also were transported to area hospitals; 2 suffering from minor burns and 1 for hypertension.  It is expected that everyone transported will be treated and released today.

A 27year-old-male resident, in what is believed to be the apartment of origin on the terrace level, was found deceased after the fire was extinguished.

A second and third alarm were sounded bringing about 100 firefighter and paramedics to the scene on-board 30 pieces of apparatus.

The majority of the fire was extinguished by 7:00 am.  Firefighters re-entered the structure at that time to conduct secondary searches and complete extinguishment.

It is estimated that 24 families will be displaced. The Fire/EMS Departments Citizen Services Unit, Red Cross and Carriage Hill Apartment Complex Management will be providing assistance to those residents.

Because this fire involves a fatality and as a matter of standard procedure; the County Police Homicide Unit will join Fire Investigators until a cause and origin has been determined.  The cause of the fire is under investigation and fire loss is still being tabulated.  The identity of the deceased is being withheld to allow for family notification.

Firefighters stand-by to re-enter building.

Ladder pipe operations by Tower 821 works to knock down bulk of fire on the front side of the building.

Rear side of the building.  Terrace apartment is believed to be apartment of origin.

Fire Chief Eugene Jones and members of the Citizens Services unit discuss plan for displaced residents.

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