Media Contact, Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
A Ritchie family of 9 can thank a working smoke alarm for awakening them and allowing time to escape their burning home.
At about 8:15 am this morning firefighters were dispatched to a report of a fire on the second floor of a home at 8100 Thornfield Terrace.
Firefighters arrived to find smoke coming from the house and ensured all occupants were safely outside. Firefighters then stretched hose lines inside and extinguished a fire found in a second floor bedroom.
After losing electrical power overnight, as a result of damage from Hurricane Irene, the family used candles for illumination and left one burning unattended/forgotten. The candle eventually ignited a fire.
In the initial stages of fire ignition a battery powered smoke alarm activated and alerted the sleeping family to the fire and allowed them time to escape safely and provide early notification to the fire department.
Unattended candles are one of the leading causes of home fires and during power outages we ask everyone to use battery powered flashlights and lanterns to avoid exactly what occurred here.
Working smoke alarms save lives. If this alarm was not working the potential for injury, death and additional fire damage to the home is highly probable.
County residents can receive a working smoke alarm installed in your home, free of charge, by calling the Fire/EMS Departments Smoke Alarm line at 301-864-SAFE (7233).
If you already have a smoke alarm, test it monthly to ensure it is working and provide fresh batteries at least once-a-year. Remember, Safety First ensures everyone goes home.