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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Firefighters Injured Battling Temple Hills House Fire

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

Three firefighters have been admitted to the Burn Unit after being injured battling a Temple Hills house fire early this morning.  Firefighter/Medics arrived at a 1-story, brick exterior, with basement, single family home in the 2900 block of Colebrooke Drive just before 3:00 am, Wednesday, December 26.  Heavy smoke was issuing from the basement level of the house and occupants advised firefighters that 3 family members were unaccounted for.  One team of firefighters initiated an aggressive search of the house as other teams entered the structure on the first floor and basement level to fight the fire.  The search team yielded negative results on their primary search and were notified that all 13 occupants had been accounted for and were safe outside.

The fire was located in the basement.  High heat and thick smoke filled the basement and stairway leading up to the first floor.  Firefighters made their way into the basement through an exterior door and began to extinguish the fire.  Three firefighters positioned themselves at the top of the stairwell  to "hold the stairs" using a charged hose line to prevent the fire from extending from the basement to the first floor. The heat rising from the basement fire was nearly unbearable, however, firefighters held their position at the top of the stairs and were successful in preventing any significant fire extension to the top floor.

The fire was extinguished within 10 minutes of arrival.  The three firefighters that were positioned at the top of the steps sustained burn injuries from the intense heat.  The burns are considered minor and are consistent with the degree of injuries firefighters sustain, even when wearing their personal protective equipment, when exposed to intense heat.  One firefighter was burned on his neck, ears and wrist, the second firefighter had burns on his arms and wrist and the third sustained burns to his ears, wrist and knee.  Paramedics transported all three to the Medstar Washington Hospital Center Burn Unit where they have since been admitted for evaluation and treatment.  There were no civilian injuries.

Fire Investigators determined the cause of the fire to be accidental and attributed to a malfunctioning dehumidifier.  Fire loss is estimated at $100,000.  There are 8 adults and 5 children that reside in the house.  They are displaced and currently being assisted by the County Citizen Services Unit.

These photos courtesy of Billy McNeel, Citizen Services Unit

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