MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
A malfunctioning stove is believed to be the cause of a fire in a Beltsville condominium building this morning. Just after 1:00 am, Thursday, October 13, 2011, Firefighter/Medics were alerted to a fire in a condominium apartment in the 11300 block of Cherry Hill Road, Maryland Farm Condominiums, in Beltsville. Firefighters from Calverton/Beltsville and other surrounding Stations arrived to find a working fire in a second floor condo of a 3-story garden-style building. Most of the building occupants were able to exit the building safely prior to the Fire Departments arrival, however, high heat and heavy smoke quickly filled the interior stairwell of the building blocking the primary means of egress. Residents trapped on upper floors utilized their secondary means of egress and retreated to their balconies and awaited rescue. While several crews of firefighters were effecting the rescue of four trapped occupants, other firefighters initiated an attack on the fire. Incident commanders ordered a precautionary 2ND Alarm as all available on-scene Fire/EMS resources were being utilized.
Firefighters from the initial alarm were able to make the rescues and contain the fire to the unit of origin. The fire was knocked down in about 15 minutes. The four occupants that were rescued by firefighters were evaluated by paramedics who determined they were not injured. No civilian or firefighter injuries were reported.
Five attached buildings had their utilities shut off to allow firefighters to operate safely and some residents will be displaced for a short period of time (hours). Twelve condo apartments in the building of origin will suffer a temporary displacement. Those displaced include 24 adults, 11 children, 5 dogs and a rabbit. The County Citizen Services Unit and the American Red Cross assisted those displaced with temporary housing.
Fire Investigators from the Fire/EMS Departments Office of the Fire Marshal conducted an investigation into the cause and origin of the fire and believe this fire is “accidental” and attributed to a malfunctioning stove. Fire loss is estimated at $30,000.