MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
At about 8:30 pm, Tuesday, June 7, 2011, Prince George's County Firefighters and Paramedics from the New Carrollton area were alerted to an apartment building fire in the Southern Walk apartment complex.
Three City of New Carrollton Police Officers were on assignment in the area when a citizen flagged them down and reported the fire. The three officers immediately responded a short distance to the scene and reported the fire to their dispatcher. They entered the building and started to alert residents, unaware of the fire, to get out. Unable to advance beyond the second floor landing they evacuated themselves and started to assist residents outside.
Firefighters from West Lanham Hills arrived at 5328 85th Avenue, a 3-story in the front/4-story in the rear apartment building, and reported heavy fire showing from the second level rear side. Residents on upper floors were unable to escape through the interior stairwell due to high heat and thick smoke and retreated to balconies and windows and yelled for help. An EMS Task Force and a Second Alarm were sounded bringing additional resources to the scene.
The fire extended through the upper floors and eventually into the roof before it was brought under control. It required 40 minutes to do so.
An adult female with an infant were rescued from a top floor bedroom window by a volunteer firefighter from Kentland Fire/EMS Station 833 using a ground ladder. The pair were handed over to paramedics and deemed to be not injured. Firefighters effected the rescues of six other residents from the upper floor balconies using ground ladders.
There were nearly 100 firefighters, paramedics, EMT's and support staff that responded on 40 pieces of apparatus.
Four residents were transported to area hospitals with minor illnesses or injuries. Ten additional residents were evaluated and treated on the scene but did not require hospitalization.
Sixty families from four apartment buildings, approximately 120 residents, will be displaced. Two buildings damaged by the fire, two others because utilities have been shut off. The County Citizen Services Unit and the Red Cross will be assisting those displaced.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Fire loss is still being tabulated.