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Friday, July 3, 2015

Calverton Couple Escape House Fire Thanks to Working Smoke Alarms

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
mebrady@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDPIO

A fire of an undetermined cause caused significant damage to a Calverton home this afternoon with the occupants needing every second to escape uninjured.  Working smoke alarms provided them with just enough notice to escape.

Firefighters were alerted to a 911 call reporting a house fire in the 3600 block of Stonehall Drive in the Calverton just after 3:00 pm, Friday, July 3.  Firefighters from both Prince George’s and Montgomery County responded on the call and arrived to find a 2-story, 2089 square foot, split level, single family home with fire and smoke showing.

A husband and wife were at home when 2 smoke alarms, one on the 1st floor and one on the 2nd floor, emitted their warning signal that smoke was detected in their home.  A female that normally uses a walker or wheelchair was taking a nap and awakened by the smoke alarm.  Her husband went to investigate why the smoke alarms were sounding when a neighbor started to pound on the front door telling the couple their house was on fire.  The husband heeded the neighbors advice and  immediately went to assist his wife out of bed then to safety.

A fire had started on the lower level of the house and was spreading rapidly through the homes interior.  Firefighters were able to bring the fire under control after 15 minutes of arrival on the scene.  Remarkably, no one was injured.  Two working smoke alarms alerted the occupants and they used every second available afforded by the early alert to exit the smoke and heat filled house.

The homes occupants, 3 adults, were displaced.  They have made their own arrangements for housing.  The cause of the fire is under investigation and a preliminary fire loss is estimated at $150,000.

Working smoke alarms increase the chances of surviving a home fire by 50%.  A planned and practice exit from your home, identifying two ways out of every room, is crucial in the short period of time you have to escape.

Any County resident that needs a smoke alarm and can not afford to purchase one themselves can call 311 and ask about the free smoke alarm program.  A firefighter will come to your home and install a 10-year smoke alarm in your home free of charge.  County Law requires a working smoke alarm on every level of your home and in bedrooms.

This is a citizens video captured prior to the Fire Department arrival.

Conditions on arrival of the Fire Department.  Photo by Al Schwartz, Beltsville VFD

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