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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Landover Hills Apartment Fire with Rescues - 68th Place

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

Three occupants of a top floor apartment were rescued by firefighters early this morning.  At around 12:30 am, Thursday, August 27, Firefighter/Medics were alerted to an apartment building fire with subsequent 911 calls reporting people trapped.  

Firefighters arrived at the 3-story (front)/4-story(rear) garden style apartment building with fire showing from the stairwell with extension to the roof in the 4400 block of 68th Place in Landover Hills.

The first arriving crew from Landover Hills Fire/EMS Station 830 advanced hose lines to start extinguishing the fire and perform an interior search for trapped occupants.  As other firefighters arrived on the scene they took a position on the rear of the building and observed three family members on their top floor balcony on the rear side (4-story) of the building with fire and smoke surrounding their only means of egress.  With ladder trucks carrying the taller ladders needed to reach the occupants not yet on the scene, firefighters used a combination of two ladders to reach the occupants.

The rescue is described here from the Kentland VFD  Facebook Page:

Upon arrival in the rear of the address (side "C"), Engine Company 33, responding with two class "A" pumpers began advancing two long length pre-connects. While doing so, it was noticed that people were trapped, immediately adjacent to the fire area. Due to the topography of the area, the building was in fact four (4) stories on side "C". The only readily available ladders, due to no access for an aerial device and additional units still responding were 28', 24' and 14' in length. None of which were capable of reaching four stories to the occupants. In a split second decision, the members from Truck Company 28 (West Lanham Hills) placed the longest ladder to the floor below (28' ladder). Then members from Engine Company 33 ascended the 28' ladder with a 14' roof ladder (with the roof hooks deployed) and scaled (pompier style) to the fourth (4th) floor balcony. Once with the trapped occupants, the Engine Company 33 firefighter sent one occupant down the completely vertical 14' ladder to members awaiting at the top of the 28' ladder. While this was being done, the two other occupants awaiting rescue utilized the tending firefighters SCBA mask to breath in the smoke filled area. Simultaneously, the two attack lines were still being stretched to assist with extinguishment. In all, three occupants were safely removed from the IDLH and evaluated by EMS.

The interior fire was quickly extinguished and all other searches for trapped occupants had negative results.  Fire Investigators are continuing to search for the cause of the fire.  Fire loss is estimated $25,000.

12 adults and 7 children were displaced and assisted by the County Office of Emergency Management and the American Red Cross.  As a precaution, 3 adults and 1 child were transported to a nearby hospital for a check-up.

Fire was mostly contained to the stairwell. (Jim Davis)

Fire can be seen coming from the roof area (Jim Davis)

Firefighters set up a challenging combination of ladders to access trapped occupants on the top floor balcony.
(Kentland VFD)

Some firefighters are with the trapped occupants as other ascend ladders to assist in occupant removal.
(Kentland VFD)