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Saturday, May 12, 2018

Beltsville House Fire with Fatality - Howard Court

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

A house fire in Beltsville claimed the life of an adult female occupant early Saturday morning.  At around 3:30 am, May 12, neighbors called 911 to report a house fire in the 11400 block of Howard Court.  Firefighters arrived and found a 2-story single family home with heavy fire consuming the structure.  Due to heavy fire conditions the fire was initially fought from the exterior and as soon as the majority of the fire was extinguished an interior attack and search commenced.  Shortly after making entry an adult female was located inside and removed to the exterior.  Tragically, she was pronounced deceased on the scene.

A Task Force brought additional personnel to the scene where it required the 60 firefighters nearly 90 minutes to extinguish the fire.  The structure, built in the 1920’s, was the original farmhouse for the property where single-family homes now exist behind the Behnke Nursery off of Baltimore Avenue.  Due to the significant damage to the homes interior, including burnt through floors, a limited amount of interior overhaul and salvage could be performed.

No additional civilian or firefighter injuries were reported.

The cause and origin of the fire is currently under investigation although preliminary reports indicate the fire appears to have started towards the rear portion of the house.  Fire loss is estimated at $200,000.  The status of a working smoke alarm is unknown.  First arriving firefighters and command officers did not hear a smoke alarm and one could not be located after the fire was extinguished.

The identity of the deceased is being withheld pending an autopsy.

Fire Investigators and County Police are conducting a joint investigation, which is standard procedure whenever a fire fatality occurs.  This is the 9th residential fatality this calendar year.