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Monday, October 15, 2012

Upper Marlboro Civilian Fatality and Cause of Fire Identified

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930

Prince George's County Fire Investigators have ruled the cause of a house fire that claimed the life of an Upper Marlboro woman as accidental and attributed to the improper use of an electrical device.

As was reported yesterday, at around 3:00 am, Sunday, October 14, firefighters from the Largo/Upper Marlboro area responded to the 12800 block of Peachleaf Court in Upper Marlboro, a 2-story single family home, to investigate an activated smoke alarm. 

An alarm monitoring company received a signal indicating an activated smoke alarm in the house.  The alarm company notified Public Safety Communications and an engine from the Kettering/Largo Fire/EMS Station #846 was dispatched to investigate the alarm.  Firefighters arrived to find a working fire in the basement and immediately requested additional fire/EMS units. 

Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire and located an unconscious adult female during the primary search of the house. The female occupant, pulseless and not breathing, was removed by firefighters, treated on the scene by paramedics and transported to a hospital.  The female was suffering from 2nd and 3rd degree burns covering about 1/3 of her body as well as smoke inhalation injuries. 

Paramedics were successful in reestablishing a pulse on the victim prior to arrival at the hospital.

Despite the very best efforts of firefighters, paramedics and hospital staff the female succumbed to injuries late Sunday evening at the Prince Georges Hospital Center in Cheverly.

Fire Investigators believe the combination of improper use of an electrical power strips, extension cord and combustibles on top of the power strips caused the fire and have ruled this as "accidental."  The power strips were overloaded in addition to one being plugged into another power strip.  A normal household extension cord was also being utilized in this dangerous mix of electric components.  Combustible materials on top of the power strips were also a contributing factor.  Fire loss is estimated at $30,000.  

The deceased is identified as Deidre Lynn Young of Upper Marlboro, DOB 2/25/1964.

If there is anything that can be taken away from this tragic incident is that everyone should:

  • Have working smoke alarms on every level of your home, test them monthly.
  • Plan and practice a home escape that includes 2 ways out of every room and a safe place to meet outside.
  • Always follow manufacturers instructions on electric appliances, power strips and extension cords; especially the areas of the manual that provide notes of warning and cautions.
If any citizen or business would like a firefighter to come to their house to inspect smoke alarms, CO detectors and receive information on fire safety items, including escape plans, please call our Safety First – Everyone Goes Home program at 301-864-SAFE (7233).

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