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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Forest Heights House Fire Displaces Residents - UPDATE

A Forest Heights house fire this morning caused significant damage and displaced it's occupants.  At about 8:45 am, Thursday, February 24, 2011, Firefighter/Medics from the Oxon Hill area were alerted to a house fire in the 100 block of Seneca Drive.  Fire/EMS units arrived to find a 2-story single family home with fire showing from the first and second floors.  Five occupants were at home when the fire started and were able to escape without injury.  There were about 45 firefighter/medics and incident commanders on the scene.  It required 15 - 20 minutes to extinguish the fire.

A preliminary investigation indicates the cause of the fire as accidental and is attributed to unattended cooking.  The fire caused an estimated $150,000 in fire damage to the structure and contents.  There are a total of 6 people that normally occupy the house.  The 2 adults and 4 children are being assisted by the Fire/EMS Department's Citizen Services Unit and the American Red Cross with temporary shelter.  Initial reports from the scene indicated there were as many as 15 occupants but that number was soon adjusted after interviewing the residents.

Unattended cooking is leading cause of fires and fire related injuries in Prince George's County.  Citizens should use this incident as a reminder that you should never leave the kitchen with food cooking.  If you must leave the kitchen, turn the stove/oven off, and turn it back on when you return.  Leaving the kitchen, even just for a moment, is hazardous and should be avoided at all costs.

It has been determined that six occupants actually reside at the house.  Two adults and four children will be displaced and assisted by relief agencies.  Additionally, the home did not have a working smoke alarm.  Anyone that requires a working smoke can contact our Safety First Smoke Alarm Line at 301-864-SAFE (7233).

This Seneca Drive home sustained $150,000 in damages after a fire started in a first floor kitchen.  (photo by Steve Hess - PGFD)

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