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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fire Prevention Week and Open House Activities

Firefighters throughout Prince George’s County are participating in Fire Prevention week. This year’s theme is: “Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With!” Fire Prevention Week runs from October 3-9, however, fire prevention is an everyday of the year activity for firefighters and we hope that our citizens and residents practice common sense fire safety habits as well.


This year's campaign is designed to educate people about the importance of smoke alarms and encourages everyone to take the steps necessary to update and maintain their home smoke alarm protection.

Here are some facts about smoke alarms from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):

• Smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a reported fire in half.

• Most homes (96%) have at least one smoke alarm (according to a 2008 telephone survey.)

• Overall, three-quarters of all U.S. homes have at least one working smoke alarm.

• Each year, nearly 3,000 people die in U.S. home fires.

• In 2003-2006, roughly two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from home fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

- No smoke alarms were present in 40% of the home fire deaths.

- In 23% of the home fire deaths, smoke alarms were present but did not sound.

• In more than half of the reported home fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate even though the fire was large enough, batteries were missing or disconnected. Nuisance alarms were the leading reason for disconnected alarms.

• More than half of the smoke alarms found in reported fires and two-thirds of the alarms found in homes with fire deaths were powered by battery only.

• Most homes still have smoke alarms powered by battery only. In a 2007 American Housing Survey (AHS), 67% of the respondents who reported having smoke alarms said they were powered by battery only.

• In a 2008 telephone survey, only 12% knew that smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.

• In fires considered large enough to activate a smoke alarm, hard-wired alarms operated 91% of the time; battery-powered smoke alarms operated 75% of the time.

• Interconnected smoke alarms on all floors increase safety.

- In a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) survey of households with any fires, interconnected smoke alarms were more likely to operate and alert occupants to a fire. (This includes fires in which the fire department was not called.)

Fire/EMS Stations will be hosting OPEN HOUSES to help educate our citizens and residents about Fire Prevention. The following Stations are hosting events:

Branchville Volunteer Fire Company and Rescue Squad, 4905 Branchville Rd College Park 301-883-7711


• Saturday, October 9, 2010, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm

Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department at the National Harbor, National Children’s Museum

• Saturday, October 9, 2010, 11:00 am until 4:00 pm

Bowie Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad – 15454 Annapolis Road, 301-883-7739

• Saturday, October 9, 2010, 11:00 am until 5:00 pm

Glenn Dale Fire Association, 11900 Glenn Dale Blvd, 301-883-7718

• Sunday, October 10, 2010, 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Morningside Volunteer Fire Department, 6200 Suitland Road, 301-883-7727

• Saturday, October 16, 2010, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm

Bunker Hill Fire Department Volunteer Fire/Rescue Association, 3716 Rhode Island Avenue, 301-985-5406

• Saturday, October 16, 2010, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm

Greenbelt Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, 125 Crescent Road, 301-883-7735

• Saturday, October 16, 2010, at Schrom Park off Hanover Road, 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Beltsville Volunteer Fire Department – 4911 Prince George’s Avenue – 301-883-7731

• Sunday, October 17, 2010, 12 noon to 4:00 pm

Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department, 6200 Belcrest Road, 301-883-7701

• Saturday, October 23, 2010, contact the station for additional details

Fort Washington Apartment Fire

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930, mebrady@co.pg.md.us

Just after 8:30 am, Tuesday, October 5, 2010, a 911 call was received reporting a fire in a Fort Washington apartment building. Fire/EMS units were dispatched to 2440 Corning Avenue, a 3-story in the front and 4-story in the rear, garden-style apartment building in the Rosecroft Mews Apartment Complex. Engine 821 - Oxon Hill was the first to arrive and advised of heavy fire conditions on the top floor. The fire started in a top floor balcony HVAC closet and extended up into the attic area first. The fire then extended into the top floor apartments after the attic area was already consumed. The fire then started to extend horizontally throughout the remaining roof area.


The crew from Engine 821 and other arriving firefighters initiated an aggressive interior attack on the fire and were successful in cutting off the extension and containing the bulk of the fire to the two top floor apartments.

A Second Alarm was sounded bringing a total of 60 firefighters and medics to the scene. The fire was contained and extinguished within 45 minutes. No injuries were reported and 2 family pets, both dogs, were removed and provided to their owners.

Fire Investigators believe a malfunctioning furnace in a balcony HVAC closet on the top floor is responsible for igniting the fire. Fire loss is estimated at $250,000. Apartment complex management will be assisting the approximately 35 displaced residents with vacant apartments located within the complex.

With chilly mornings occurring over the last 2 days, many residents are starting to use their furnaces, space heaters and other alternative means to keeping warm. The Fire/EMS Department highly recommends that homeowners visually inspect their furnaces and remove any combustible materials that are within 3 feet. Also, a certified technician should inspect furnaces every year, before the cold weather arrives, to ensure it is proper working order. Property managers are also reminded to inspect and clean furnaces every year. Remember a 3 foot perimeter should be provided to any heating device.

Rear side of building upon arrival. (photo by Fire Lt.Rick Patterson)



Front side of building during initial operations (photo by Fire Lt. Rick Patterson)

First arriving firefighters stand-down as crews continue with overhaul.

Incident Commander Battalion Chief Ken McSwain receives update from Fire Investigator Brian Collins.

Top Floor Balcony HVAC utility closet is where the fire started.


Fire Lt. Tony Hughes comforts 4-year-old Charli while mom went to assist in retrieving a family pet.


Ehlehna Gipson leads her pet dog"Turtle" out of the fire damaged apartment building.