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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Fatal Glenarden Home Fire Remains Under Investigation

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

We may never know if a working smoke alarm would have made a difference this morning in Glenarden.  When firefighters arrived at the 1-story single family home in the 8600 block of Leslie Avenue shortly after 4:00 am flames and thick smoke were coming out of just about every window and door.  Heroic efforts led to the removal of four unconscious, non-breathing and pulseless occupants.  Two other home occupants self evacuated out of a window prior to the fire department arrival.  After the victims were rescued, CPR was immediately started, hose lines stretched inside and additional fire and EMS resources were summoned to the scene to help tend to the victims and extinguish the fire.  Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor estimated that 75 firefighter/medics were on the scene.  Organized chaos at it's very best.  Six occupants of the home, 4 unconscious and an adult and child females, were transported to area hospitals, the fire was extinguished by 4:30 am and the investigation into the cause and origin commenced.

It wasn't long before firefighters heard that three of the four unconscious victims rescued from the burning home had succumbed at the hospital.  An autopsy will reveal the official cause of death but every firefighter and paramedic already knew that had a working smoke alarm been present that the outcome might be totally different.  No smoke alarm was found within the home.

Deceased is a 36 year old male, an 8 year old female and a 4 year old female.  An 11 year old female had a pulse restored and transferred to Children's Hospital where she remains in grave condition.  A 33 year old and 8 year old, twin sister to one of the deceased, had escaped out of a window and sustained smoke inhalation and a laceration from broken glass.  They remain hospitalized in good condition.

Prince George's County Fire Investigators have been working since early this morning to determine the cause and origin of the fire.  Investigators have been assisted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the County and Glenarden Police Departments.  Nothing unusual with the assistance of Law Enforcement agencies, this is standard procedure whenever there is a fire that involves a death,  The Fire/EMS Department maintains the lead investigative authority in this case.

The names of the deceased are still being withheld as well as the cause of the fire remaining "under investigation" until after an autopsy by the State of Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is completed.  Two Fire/EMS Department members sustained injuries, one from a slip and fall on ice and another with minor burns, both were treated and released from area hospitals.  No new information is anticipated to be released tonight.

The three deaths today bring a total number of fire related fatalities in Prince George's County this calendar year to eight.  There was a total of ten fatalities in all of CY 2012.

Name withheld 36 year old male 2/21/2013 8642 Leslie Avenue
Name withheld 8 year old female 2/21/2013 8642 Leslie Avenue
Name withheld 4 year old female 2/21/2013 8642 Leslie Avenue
White, George Lee 77 year old male 2/8/2013 5900 Rayburn Drive

Jones, Christine Miller 83 year old female 1/24/2013 3518 Everest Drive
Hoffman, Joseph Franklin 65 year old male 1/20/2013 6625 24th Place
Winston, Tanya  53 yr old female 1/13/2013 7602 Fontainbleau Dr 
Abbate, John Michael 45 year old male 1/13/2013 7602 Fontainbleau Drive

Having a working smoke alarm increases the chances of someone surviving a home fire by about 50%. Each home should have at least one working smoke alarm outside of every sleeping area and a working smoke alarm on every level of your home.  The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) conducted a survey and found that in 2005-2009, 94% of all homes had a smoke alarm (working/non-working) and almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.  Smoke alarms save lives.

Citizen and residents in Prince George's County can have a smoke alarm installed in their home, free of charge.  Simply call 311 or our Safety First Program at 301-864-SAFE (7233).  A firefighter will come to your home and install a working smoke alarm for you.  The firefighter will also help you plan a home escape in the event of an emergency including two ways out of every room and a meeting place designated safely outside.

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