For information about the fire contact the Howard County Department of Fire & Rescue Services.
For information on Fire Fighter/Medic Captain Donald Fletcher contact:
Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
Shortly after 7:00 PM, Sunday, July 12, firefighters and paramedics from the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) were alerted by neighbors about a townhouse fire in the 9400 block of Riverbrink Court in Laurel, Maryland. Several neighbors called 911 to report seeing smoke and flames coming from the basement at the rear of the structure.
Crews arrived to find heavy fire coming from the rear of a 2-story end-unit townhouse with a walk out basement. More than 50 firefighters from HCDFRS and the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department (PGFD) were on hand to extinguish the blaze. PGFD units included Laurel #810, Calverton #841, a Medic Unit from Laurel and several command officers. It is common practice for neighboring jurisdictions to share mutual aid fire/EMS apparatus if they are closest to the incident location.
The fire was declared under control approximately 45 minutes later. Interior firefighting operations were hampered because the extensive fire caused significant structural damage, and large portions of the first and second floors were deemed unsafe.
Prince George’s County Fire Captain Donald Fletcher was ascending a flight of interior stairs when they collapsed underneath him. He initially saved himself falling into the collapse area of grabbing onto a superheated stair rail and holding on until other firefighters pulled him to safety. Fletcher sustained burn injuries to both hands and was transported to the Burn Unit at MEDSTAR Washington Hospital Center. He was treated and released last night and is currently resting at home. While it is never good to sustain a burn injury on the fire ground we are fortunate to be only reporting a treat and release burn injury and nothing more serious. Captain Fletcher’s initial reaction to grab a handrail while falling and other firefighters pulling him to safety is a testament to firefighters training and situational awareness. Fletcher is a 10-year veteran of the Fire/EMS Department and is assigned to the Calverton Fire/EMS Station #841. There have been no civilian injuries.
No one was home when the fire began. Red Cross is providing assistance. HCDFRS fire investigators are conducting an investigation to determine the origin and cause of the blaze.
|The rear of the townhouse Photo by HCDFRS|
|Fire showing from the front side of the townhouse. Photo by R. Blakenship via HCDFS.|